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Ballymore Classic Novices Hurdle

The Classic Novices Hurdle is a National Hunt hurdle race that is run at Festival Trials Day every January.

Festival Trials Day is a single day event that takes place on the last Saturday of every January at Cheltenham Racecourse. It gives all those closely involved a chance to make their final preparations before the next event at Cheltenham – The Festival.

This year’s Festival Trials Day is scheduled to take place behind closed doors on Saturday the 30th January with the first race of the day beginning at 12:40.

About the Race

The Ballymore Classic Novices Hurdle is a two miles four furlong and 56-yard National Hunt hurdle race that is open to all horses of aged four years and above.

This race is run over the New Course at Cheltenham Racecourse and consists of 10 hurdles for the young novices to jump over.

The Ballymore Classic Novices Hurdle is run every January for The Festival Trials and has done so since its first edition in 2005 which was won by 5-year-old Ambobo, ridden by jockey Barry Geraghty and trained by Arnaud Chaillé-Chaillé.

Race number 5 at Festival Trials Day is where you’ll catch this year’s episode of The Ballymore Classic Novices Hurdle. This will begin at 15:00 on Saturday the 30th of January 2021.


The 2021 Ballymore Classic Novices Hurdle will consist of 5 running competitors who will be hoping to clutch the £12,814 first-place prize.

  1. Annual Invictus (IRE) – 6 years old – weighing in at 11-5 – trained by Chris Gordon and ridden by jockey Richard Johnson
  2. Bear Ghylls (IRE) – 6 years old – weighing in at 11-5 – trained by Nicky Martin and ridden by jockey Matt Griffiths
  3. Optimise Prime (IRE) – 5 years old – weighing in at 11-5 – trained by Ben Pauling and ridden by jockey Daryl Jacob
  4. Took The Lot – 7 years old – weighing in at 11-5 – trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies and ridden by jockey Sam Twiston-Davies
  5. Wilde About Oscar (IRE) – 6 years old – weighing in at 11-5 – trained by Dan Skelton and ridden by jockey Sam Skelton


It’s only a five-horse race and anything is possible. The competition at this year’s Ballymore Classic Novices Hurdle is close with entry hoping to take home the £12,814 first-place prize.

Festival Trials day is known for attracting a lot of attention from those hoping to place a few bets on the winners of these races as well as those they believe will go on to win their races at The Festival in March.

With Cheltenham Racecourse having to close its doors to spectators for this Festival Trials Day due to the national lockdown, those that like to check out the horses in person before they make their way to the starting line may have to settle to hearing it from the tipsters – but worry not, we have some of the best around that have all the knowledge to point you in the right direction of a winning bet slip.


There have been no particular upsets in the previous 5 Classic Novices Hurdle races at Cheltenham, so maybe we’re just about overdue one? Or maybe you trust the bookies for this one where the favourites seem to perform well year after year.

Festival Trials Day will always entice fantastic promotions from the bookies so you’d be a fool to not take every opportunity to make this racing season’s Ballymore Classic Novices Hurdle race a profitable one.

It’s Bear Ghylls that’s looking like the race favourite going into the 15:00 Ballymore Classic Novices Hurdle on Saturday with his starting price sitting around the Evens mark.

Wilde About Oscar and Annual Invictus are priced almost neck and neck for second place with odds sitting at just over 3/1 for each of them.

Optimise Prime is tipped for a fourth-place finish with his current odds at 8/1 with many bookies, and finally, it’s Took The Lot with a starting price of 25/1 that’s looking like the most unlikely to place in this race – but who knows when it’s Nigel and Sam Twiston-Davies taking the reigns.

Previous Winners


6-year-old 4/1 Harry Senior won the Ballymore Classic Novices Hurdle last time out, ridden by jockey Robbie Power and trained by Colin Tizzard.

6/4 race favourite King Roland finished in second-place followed by 3/2 Protektorat who was ridden and trained by the Skelton’s. 150/1 French Kiss would have been happy just to keep up with the pack in this race but was forced to pull up after weakening before the last.


In 2019, 2/1 second-favourite Birchdale won the £18,006 first-placed prize, ridden by jockey Barry Geraghty and trained by Nicky Henderson.

Race favourite Brewin’upastorm was leading until jockey Richard Johnson fell at the last hurdle. 16/1 outsider Buster Valentine took second place, much to the delight of many that trusted the jockey skills of Leighton Aspell.


It was Santini that won the £18,224 first-place prize in the Ballymore Classic Novices Hurdle back in 2018, ridden by Jeremiah McGrath and trained by Nicky Henderson with a starting price of 4/1.

11/4 favourite Malcuhys Hill only managed fourth-place while second and third places were occupied by 8/1 and 16/1 outsiders Black Op and Aye Aye Charlie.


In 2017, The Neptune Investment Management Classic Novices’ Hurdle was won by 11/4 favourite 6-year-old Wholestone, ridden by jockey Daryl Jacob and trained by the notorious Nigel Twiston-Davies.

Nicky Henderson trained William Henry occupied second-place with a starting price of 5/1, while 16/1 outsider Poetic Rhythm took the third-place prize.


On the 30th of January 2016, 2/1 favourite Yanworth won Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle after an impressive session. Yanworth was ridden by jockey Barry Geraghty and trained by Alan King.

The race went pretty much as expected with 9/4 Shantou Village ridden by Ruby Walsh finishing in second, then 6/1 Champers On Ice taking third prize.

Cheltenham Races TEst

With the Cheltenham Festival just around the corner, it’s time to get back into the spirit of this grand occasion, and for that, you’ve come to the right place.

With the offset commencing on Tuesday 16th March featuring The Unibet Champion Hurdle, you could be right there experiencing it all up until the final few races trickle through following The Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday 19th March.

Cheltenham Racecourse hosts the most anticipated event of the racing calendar where punters and racing enthusiasts can experience this exciting event from a number of perspectives, whatever the weather.

Four days of extraordinary racing offers a prize pool of over £4.5 million to the hopeful participants, with passion and emotion tantalising the senses of all in attendance.

Kissing the beautiful Cotswold countryside, Cheltenham Racecourse was voted the greatest racecourse in the world by The Racing Post in 2019. Each of the three magnificent Cheltenham Racecourse enclosures gives you a stunning view of the alluring surroundings.

The Cheltenham Festival offers world-class hospitality available to suit a wide range of budgets, so, if you wish, you could step up the quality of your experience to ensure you make the absolute best of this fascinating horseracing occasion.

Besides the racing, you can visit the shopping village featuring approximately 70 bespoke, carefully selected vendors for a mixture of essentials and luxuries. You can also indulge yourself at the bars and listen to live music all throughout the Cheltenham racing calendar.

Betting Tips

If you’re looking for the most diligently researched professional betting tips for the Cheltenham Festival 2021 races, our team of competent, experienced tipsters will provide all the fruitful information you need to make the most lucrative betting decisions possible.

The in-depth information we offer on favourites, horses to look out for, trainers, jockeys and more can mean it won’t just be the horses, trainers and jockeys getting Cheltenham results.


Whether you have attended this enthralling event before and you’re looking for your annual fix, or you’ve been intrigued by the captivating aura that surrounds these races inducing the desire to make your Festival debut, you can find all the information you need on Cheltenham tickets right here.

Standard entry tickets are very affordable and there is a range of package options to suit your exact needs, so whatever your budget, The Cheltenham Festival 2021 will be the place to be this March.

Festival Guide

Any information you’re looking for on the festival including dates for the diary, the racecourse, the horse trainers, the jockeys, festival history, where to eat, where to stay and how to get there can be found right here at

Race Calendar

The Cheltenham Festival 2021 features a variety of 28 breathtaking races, with 7 per day over the course of the four-day festival. Our race calendar makes it very easy to keep track of exactly what is going on and when.

The highlight of day one will be the Unibet Champion Hurdle with a prize pool of £450,000. Day two sees the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase take place where records continue to be broken.

Day three presents The Ryanair Chase and The Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle race, both in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. Then Finally, Friday hosts the grand finale in the form of The Cheltenham Gold Cup.

The full Cheltenham race schedule is available right here, from the Tuesday 10:30 gate opening to the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle final race at 5:30 pm on Friday.


The beauty of the Cheltenham races is the sheer quantity of options when it comes to how you want to experience it.

If you head down to The Festival simply to view the races and absorb the exciting atmosphere you don’t need to break the bank. If you’ve set a higher budget for this pulsating occasion, you can get plenty for the money you want to spend.

You can choose from any of the 11 onsite restaurants for your evening meal, with a variety of restaurant types from The Horse & Groom Pub to the Champions Walk restaurant, you can choose the atmosphere that’s served alongside your meal.

Those with a higher budget and more cash to splash will be delighted by the range of luxury experience options, including viewing boxes with private bars, Room With a View packages complete with Bentley and helicopter transfers, and the luxurious Orchard Pods suitable for up to 20 guests with a private balcony.

Free bets

Free bets are a fantastic opportunity to step up the thrill of the races with a chance to recoup some of your festival expenditures, increase your spending money, or even strike it lucky and walk away from your exhilarating day with a smug smile.

Free bets work just like real bets except there is no risk involved. You can place a stake on your favourite horse and if it wins, so do you. Real cash.

The Cheltenham Festival is amongst the busiest periods of the year for bookmakers and betting sites, so they always come up with some incredibly tempting sign-up offers and free bets to lure you in. The high competition between the bookies is good news for you, as they compete to offer the most generous free bet deals.

We scour the web for all the best betting deals – including free bets – and provide you with a one-stop-shop to accumulate your free bet funds, meaning less time searching and more time sitting and sipping.


It’s thanks to the high competition between bookmakers that you can get such fantastic prices on the horses. Odds are competitive, so very high profits are possible.

We’ll make sure you have access to all the best odds from all the best betting sites, so you can experience how profitable the Cheltenham races can truly be.

Track all the odds as the Festival approaches ever closer so you know exactly who to look out for and back when the big week finally arrives.