top of page


13:20 - Ballymore Novices Hurdle

Well, after an exhilarating opening day at the 2021 Cheltenham Festival, we don't have long to think about what could have been if Concertista won the Mares Hurdle before we do it all again with the Ballymore Novices Hurdle over 2 miles 4 furlongs.

The small 7 runner field after declarations still hold the front 3 in the market that are causing arguments between friends and strangers on Twitter alike.

We'll start with the initial favourite for the race, Bob Olinger who was market leader for this race 12 months ago. Trained by Henry De Bromhead, he's the classiest horse in the race in my opinion. He has the speed and stamina for the trip and great form lines in behind him. Bob Olingers convincing win in the Lawlor's of Naas in January, beating Blue Lord by 6 ½ lengths, stamped his authority on the Ballymore market. With Rachael Blackmore on board, flying high off Honeysuckle's Champion Hurdle win, he's the rightful favourite.

Gaillard Du Mensil has forced himself into the market with impressive wins in a Maiden Hurdle and then the Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Novice Hurdle in February over the extended trip of 2 miles 6 furlongs. There's no doubt that Gaillard Du Mensil has the stamina for the Ballymore, but he beat Albert Bartlett type horses that day, and I don't believe his turn of foot has been tested as much as Bob Olingers has been in previous races.

The 3rd in the market, donned "the next Denman" by Paul Nichols is Bravemansgame. He's a mighty horse who looks sure to be a phenomenal chaser in years to come. His 10 length victory in the Challow Hurdle in December was certainly one to stand up and take notice of. The form coming out of that race hasn't lived up to much, but his reputation is one that puts him in contention for the race.

Bob Olinger for me is my best bet of the day and my personal NAP of the week. I recently said on the Cheltenham Preview that Bob Olinger was my festival banker at 2/1. He's been hammered in the market to the 11/8 favourite for the Ballymore Novices Hurdle, and I can see why. In my opinion he wins in great style.


written by Charlie Sharp

bottom of page