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Ballymore Novice's Hurdle

A grade one novice hurdle over two miles and five furlongs, the Ballymore has been won by some real superstars over the last few years. Bob Olinger won last year beating Gaillard Du Mesnil and Bravemansgame, before that it was Envoi Allen. Samcro, Faugheen and Simonsig to name a few others. This year we could also have a superstar in the mix, but with uncertainty over which horses will be running in this race, it does look a minefield.

At the head of the market we have Dysart Dynamo, Sir Gerhard, Consitution Hill and Jonbon. All brilliant and would all have a chance, but the Supreme seems the most likely race for all of them. If any of the four were to divert here, they would most likely go off favourite. Dysart Dynamo and Constitution Hill are the two I’d most expect to see come here, Dysart’s bumper win was over more than two miles, and Constitution Hill settles brilliant and has a lovely turn of foot.

After that we have Ginto at 5/1, I think he is a good bet here having won the Grade Oke Lawlors Of Naas which is a good trial for this race. He has won all three hurdles starts including a maiden and grade two victory adding to that grade one. Often looking like a step up in trip would suit, and possibly like he’d be vulnerable to one with a turn of foot, stepping up from the Supreme. You could possibly crab the form of his Lawlors win as the 2nd and third were both beaten this weekend. Hollow Games, his stablemate and for the same owners, was 3rd in the Lawlors and also third behind Minella Crooner and winner Minella Cocooner. I think that day Minella Cocooner got a brilliant ride from the front and the 2nd and 3rd will be better suited by three miles in the Albert Bartlett. Minella Cocooner would have a good chance here as he won well from the front, the drop back by a furlong should be no issue for him. He’s 7/1 and could represent a good each way bet NRNB, I wouldn’t be interested without that as Mullins could send him to the Bartlett as well. Journey With Me is another who could lineup both here, or in the Bartlett. He won the same bumper that Bob Olinger won and for the same connections, which meant he was always prominent in the betting for this. He beat Kilcruit and Minella Crooner in his maiden hurdle win and was very good. Not a horse with a turn of foot like Bob, he’s a relentless galloper, I really like him.

Stage Star looks like the best chance for the English outside of Jonbon and Constitution Hill, he has been good in all of his runs this year. His best bit of form was when winning the grade one Challow over Christmas. He was a decent bumper performer last year and would have to have a chance, however it‘a hard to be confident on how strong the UK form is compared to the Irish.

Walking On Air for Nicky Henderson made a striking debut and he is also just 7/1, however we’ve only seen him that once and it didn’t look the deepest race on paper. Hard to assess I’m willing to leave him, Nicky seems to rate him quite highly though. We then have a four Irish horses who aren’t guaranteed runners here, State Man, Mighty Potter, El Fabiolo and Kilcruit at 9/1, 10/1, 12/1 and 12/1 respectively. State Man looked a two miler to me when he won recently. Mighty Potter left the impression that maybe a step up in trip would suit in the Royal Bond when staying on into third. However, I do think he’ll stick to two miles this year and a strongly run Supreme will be his best chance. El Fabiolo is a bit of an unknown quantity, but clearly a good horse, he won well but it was at Tramore and not a particularly strong race. Kilcruit stepped up to this trip after his shock defeat, but was well beaten by Journey With Me, he won back down at two miles recently and I suspect that’s the trip they'll stick to now.

Hillcrest at 12/1 was fancied for this race after beating another Nicky Henderson prospect, I Am Maximus. He was then a short priced favourite in a better race, but was brought down early and we didn’t learn anything more about him unfortunately. He is a huge horse, supposedly 18 hands, and I have a soft spot for him too, he’ll make an excellent staying chaser next year.

You’d think with a lot of uncertainty over the main horses in the betting, that there‘d be a juicy each way angle into the race. At bigger prices Whatdeawant (20/1) is owned by the races sponsors and would need to bounce back after a poor run, but has previously looked talented. Similarly Grand Jury was second behind Ginto in the Lawlors and would also need to bounce back after his run this weekend, he’s 33/1 though which could look huge if he was back to his beat. Ramillies (40/1) for Willie Mullins was a highly tried bumper horse last year but always looked like a horse in need of further. He was running a good race behind the Nice Guy (12/1) and to me looked the winner before a shuddering mistake put an end to his momentum. He stuck on again for third but will appreciate this step up to two miles five, I actually put him up for the Bartlett orI finally and think he may turn out to be a dark horse in either race he turns up in.

My Ante Post bets advised so far are all long shots advised before the season really started, this shows how competitive that division has been this year with no major standouts. Even now I wouldn't be 100% confident in any of the horses actually turning up here.

Journey With Me - Ballymore 18/1 0.5pts each way (17/05/2021)

Balco Coastal - Ballymore 50/1 0.5pts each way (14/06/2021)

Ginto - Ballymore 50/1 0.5pts each way (13/09/2021)

Ha D'Or - Ballymore - 66/1 0.5pts each way (27/09/2021)

That being said bar Ha D'Or who isn't entered the other three have enhanced their claims, so from bets placed before October last year, I can't complain. Journey With Me is a real player here and 5/1 best priced reflects that. Ginto has been backed into 8/1 from 50/1 but could be just as likely to line up in the Albert Bartlett. Balco Coastal hasn't wowed but will likely run here if anywhere and is slightly shorter at 33/1.

I didn’t plan on adding any bets at this stage, but as it’s NRNB and I expect the field to be decimated in terms of who shows up, I’ve talked myself into backing Ramillies each way. He’s only had one hurdles run so far but was running to a decent standard, Mullins always talked highly of him and he was highly tried last year. I have a soft spot for him and at 40/1 would be gutted if he were to place and I’d missed it. He’ll likely go off shorter as the field will cut up and he’s trained my Mullins. Just the 0.5pts each way.

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