1.30 Ballymore Novices' Hurdle Tips
Wednesday 11 March | Age: 4yo+ | Prize: £125,000
The Ballymore Novices Hurdle is a Grade 1 National Hunt hurdle race, open to horses four years and older who are novices (meaning they hadn’t won a race over hurdles prior to that season), the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle is run on the Old Course over a distance of about two miles and five furlongs (2 miles 5 furlongs and 26 yards).
DAY TWO kicks off with a bang with this race and it all comes down to one question for me.
It's simply a question of whether ENVOI ALLEN is the second coming of the Messiah or not.
He is unbeaten on a racecourse in 7 attempts including the Champion Bumper here last year and he looks very, very special. There are very few horses who can win bumpers the way he did and then also win classy hurdle races over two miles and further.
He looks like a pretty special horse but this is also a very good-looking race on paper.
There are another two horses who are unbeaten over hurdles (The Big Breakaway and Sporting John) and plenty more with a hint of class about them so really will need to be as good as he looks.
I think he will do it.
He looks like a potential superstar and although others have claims I think Envoi Allen will see them all off with a combination of stamina and a turn of foot.
The price isn't going to make us millionaires but 5-4 is widely available at the time of writing and I think that's very fair so I'll have a reasonable win bet on him.
N.B. Watch your bets on this race with The Big Breakaway and The Big Getaway and Getaway Fred all taking part.
ENVOI ALLEN (1.30) remains unbeaten and is difficult to oppose in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle.
The fact that he was almost re-routed at the last minute to the Champion Hurdle merely underlines his ability.
Envoi Allen will be included in many accumulators but for punters seeking an each-way dabble, or a bet without the favourite, then Sporting John fits the bill.
JP McManus’ gelding has won all three races for trainer Philip Hobbs and thrashed Pipesmoker and Master Debonair at Ascot 2m 3f last month.
Sporting John also took the scalp of Harry Senior over a shorter trip at Exeter in November.
Willie Mullins saddles The Big Getaway, wide-margin winner of a Naas maiden in January and still unexposed at this level, while The Big Breakaway (watch your bets) is another with star potential.
Envoi Allen is the obvious horse to talk about first, he just looks like a superstar.
He does everything perfectly. He jumps economically, has a high cruising speed and has scope for plenty of improvement.
He was probably 90% of people’s idea of a banker this week in whatever race he turned up in.
He turns up in the Ballymore at odds of around EVS or 10/11, but at those odds I’d rather try and find an EW alternative to nick a place.
The horse I like the look of is EASYWORK. The Gordon Elliott trained horse is currently at odds of around 20/1 when writing this, which looks far too big.
His form is up in the air, but he finished 2nd to Asterion Forlonge, which was over 2m and not his ideal trip. That is good form on a surface which was too quick and over a trip which was never going to see him in his best light.
Prior to that second place, he was 2/2 over hurdles and was touted to be a smart horse.
On Wednesday he goes back up 2m 5f, around a stiff track like Cheltenham, on soft or heavy ground which sounds like his ideal conditions. A small EW play at 20/1 or similar odds seems a no brainer for me.
A couple of notable mentions would be Sporting John, who looked sensational last time out at Ascot and has a lot of collateral form with decent horses, but needs to show he stays this far on tacky ground.
The Big Breakaway is an interesting runner and falls under the category of ‘could be anything’, but his lack of experience puts me off, as well as being a shorter price.
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