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ballymore novices hurdle cheltenham festival day 2 13/03/2024 sport preview

Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle – Cheltenham Festival Day 2 13/03/2024

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Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle 13/03/2024:
  • Ballyburn
  • Slade Steel
  • Ile Antique
  • Readin Tommy Wrong
  • Gidleigh Park
  • Captain Teague

Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle – Cheltenham Festival Day 2 13/03/2024

Venue: Cheltenham Racecourse, Cheltenham UK | Dates: 12-15 March 2024 | Official Site: Cheltenham Festival 2024

1:30 Winner: £75,964.5 Runners: 51 Going: Soft Distance: 2m5f0y

The highly anticipated Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle will be taking place at the prestigious Cheltenham Festival.

10 Year Official Rating Trends

  • Highest Winning Official Rating:   156
  • Lowest Winning Official Rating:    146
  • Average Winning Official Rating:  151



The son of Flemensfirth heads the betting here too and if he is a confirmed runner then he would be a confident selection to take this.

Slade Steel

 It is well publicised that connections of Slade Steel will try to avoid another meeting with Ballyburn who has twice beaten this horse when they have met.  Therefore if Ballyburn heads for the Supreme then the son of Telescope will head here and he will be the one they all have to beat.  He beat the very useful King Of Kingsfield over 2m at Naas on his seasonal reappearance in November and he then stepped up to 2½ miles for the Grade 2 Tote Navan Novice Hurdle in December where he beat another very good yardstick in Lecky Watson.  He was then beaten 7 lengths by Ballyburn in a Grade 1 over 2 miles at the DRF where he looked as if the extra half mile would again be in his favour.  Take out Ballyburn here and he has a favourite’s chance.

Ile Antique

This Willie Mullins trained son of Coastal Path also comes here with strong credentials.  He looked all over the winner of that tried and tested trial The Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle that was run at Naas on 12th January.  Leading for most of the way under Paul Townsend, Ile Antique looked to be getting the best of a battle with his stablemate Readin Tommy Wrong until the final 50 yards when Daryl Jacob managed to eek that little bit extra from his willing partner.  Ile Antique lost little in defeat and if anything he embellished his reputation by going down narrowly in such a prestigious Grade 1 event.  He also seemed to cope very well with the step up to 2m4f and he is fully entitled to take his chance here.

Readin Tommy Wrong

Given that this horse nailed Ile Antique on the line in the Lawlor’s Of Naas, then he has fully earned his entry for the Baring Bingham.  He went into that Grade 1 as the outsider of the field having scraped home by a short-head in his maiden hurdle at Cork the time before.  However his trainer stated that he thought that he could outrun his odds and the subsequent exploits of the second and third horses at Cork have hugely substantiated that particular piece of form and it is fair to say that Readin Tommy Wrong now looks to be quite progressive.  He will likely have to improve again to win this however he has only ran five times in his life and there is surely lots of scope for him to improve and he comes here with a Grade 1 success already on his CV.  His connections fancy him to run a big race and he ticks plenty of boxes.

Gidleigh Park

If ever a horse was an embryo chaser then Gidleigh Park is just that horse!  The fact that he is showing some much promise over hurdles is likely a huge bonus to his connections as this time next year he could be the ideal model for a race such as the Brown Advisory Novices Chase back at the Festival.  However he has genuine claims to make his mark at this year’s Festival following a blemish free career that has seen him claim a bumper and three novice hurdle victories.  The latest of these came over 2m4½f at Cheltenham on Trials Day back in January when got the better of Lucky Place by a half-length.  This was the first time that the horse had been asked to knuckle down and get serious and he responded generously to his rider’s urgings by regaining the initiative after the last hurdle and going on to record victory in this Grade 2 contest.  His participation here will likely depend on ground conditions.  If it comes up Good-To-Soft/Soft going then he will come here for the Baring Bingham however if the ground is more on the ‘Good’ side then he will likely head to the Albert Bartlett later in the week.  Either way, he should go well and the future is all in front of him.

Captain Teague

In a similar fashion to Gidleigh Park, Captain Teague will either head here to the Baring Bingham or the Albert Bartlett depending on ground conditions.  There seems to be little doubt that stamina is a strong suit of the son of Doyen and whilst he is not slow, he does tend to stay very well and finish off his races strongly.  Paul Nicholls thought him good enough to make his hurdles debt in the Grade 2 Persian War Novices Hurdle at Chepstow in October and Captain Teague didn’t disappoint as he put 9½ lengths between himself and his nearest pursuer, Resplendent Grey.  He disappointed slightly when failing to win his follow-up Grade 2 under a penalty at Cheltenham in November however he got back in the groove when landing his mid-season Grade 1 target, the Challow Hurdle at Newbury at the end of December.  This became a real slog in very testing conditions and he saw it out best to defeat the Greatwood Hurdle runner-up Lookaway by 1½ lengths with The Jukebox Man and Johnnywho close up behind.  In truth, the Albert Bartlett may be a better fit for Captain Teague given his stamina reserves however if it does come up testing at Cheltenham then he could make them all go here supposing of course his trainer decides to send him here.

There could be plenty of depth to this race with the likes of Mystical PowerBillericay DickieHandstands and the Nicky Henderson trained Jinko Blue all holding entries and all possessing stacks of potential.  If any or all of these horses do take up their entries then they could all be afforded plenty of respect at relatively competitive prices.

Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle Summary:

If Ballyburn turns up here then he looks to have all the credentials to take the prize back to Closutton for Willie Mullins.  He is many people’s idea of the banker of the week. If he doesn’t turn up here then Slade Steel is likely to shorten considerably in the market and he would then take the beating for Henry De Bromhead.  It is not an easy race to call at the time of writing and so the firmed-up entries will help in that respect.

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