• Hands Heels

Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle (Grade One)

Updated: Apr 30, 2021

13:20 Cheltenham 17/03

Day two kicks off with the Ballymore, a grade one hurdle over two miles and five furlongs. A race that often goes to the favourites, with 6 from the last 9 running’s being either won by the favourite or second favourite. This year we are two weeks out and still not certain who will go off favourite! The current favourite is Willie Mullins’ Gaillard Du Mesnil at 11/4, Bob Olinger for Henry De Bromhead is next at 7/2 and Bravesmansgame for Paul Nicholls is also 7/2.

Gaillard Du Mesnil was a recruit from France for Mullins, having some very solid three year old form there in the autumn of 2019. He started out for Mullins in a maiden when very well fancied but could only manage second against Holymacapony, perhaps needing the run their first time out. Their seasons have gone in almost totally different directions since they met in November. Holymacapony has disappointed since going off favourite in a Grade Two when eventually pulled up, and then being beaten 39 lengths by Gaillard most recently in the Nathaniel Lacy Grade One. Gaillard on the other hand went out and won a maiden next time in taking fashion, before winning last time out in the before mentioned race.

Bob Olinger has had similar strikingly similar form to Gaillard Du Mesnil this season, being beaten by Ferny Hollow last years champion bumper winner by just a length, before going on to win a maiden next time out, and then winning a Grade One being well fancied and easily seeing off Blue Lord and Ashdale Bob. The Ferny Hollow form in itself is excellent and would see him run well here. Arguably this form is possibly even stronger and if trained by Mullins I think would just edge favouritism here. At current prices I will be having a bet on him here.

The unknown quantity, which sounds stupid considering it’s a race in Britain, is the best of the British entries, Bravesmansgame. The reason I say he’s an unknown quantity is that despite winning a grade one last time out it’s hard to know just how good he is based on what he’s beaten. Admittedly Wilde About Oscar was pulled up that day and has since come out to win a listed race by 7 lengths, but as he didn’t finish that race we can’t say how close he would have gotten to Bravesmansgame. I am unsure on the British form and would much rather take the same price about Bob Olinger.

Dreal Deal gets a mention from me again, similar to what I wrote in the Supreme, if he ends up here he rates a strong chance and would be worth a bet but best to leave it for now as I suspect they’re leaning towards the Supreme if he’s even fit and firing by then!

The outsider who I will have a small each way flutter on here, is one I’ve not seen mentioned too much, Jungle Boogie at 40/1. Willie has taken his time with this horse, having only run twice, once in a bumper in November where he won won very easily cruising along in front before putting the race to bed hands and heels. He then went straight over hurdles at Punchestown in February winning 30 lengths in a maiden hurdle, making all again and winning in convincing style. After that race Mullins admitted to considering a tip at a race in the festival. Having won over 2 miles 4 last time, if he does go I imagine it will be in this not the Supreme. As he’s not certain to go this will be a NRNB selection.


Bob Olinger 7/2 1pt win

Jungle Boogie 40/1 0.5pts each way - unfortunately a non runner here but no worries as NRNB advised.

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