Pageant Focus 2024 – Novice Hurdles

Four To Follow: Happy New Year!

The countdown is on for the Best Pageant on Turf. The Cheltenham Pageant is again and so is the Pageant Focus. Within the first of the eight-part collection, we take a deep dive into the contenders for the 4 novice hurdles. Typically aggressive, and a glance as to who the longer term champions of the Pageant shall be.


Sky Wager Supreme Novices’ Hurdle – 2m 87yds – Grade One

Embed from Getty Pictures

The curtain-raiser for your complete week. This yr’s renewal appears to be like to belong the Irish, however who will land the primary prize out of 28?

Ballyburn’s vacation spot nonetheless hasn’t been selected, however his run within the Tattersalls Novice Hurdle on the Dublin Racing Pageant the right trial for the Supreme.

Nonetheless, within the two races he has received, the shape hasn’t labored out and the category performances is all we’ve got seen. So is he as a great horse that the market makes out?

The race is a possible reunion with Firefox, who beat Ballyburn in a aggressive maiden hurdle at Fairyhouse in December.

Firefox was stepped up by Gordon Elliott in January when operating within the Lawlor’s of Naas, however was came upon by Readin Tommy Flawed.

The step down in distance appears to be like to be the plan for Elliott and staff. His bumper type additionally has rather a lot to again up Firefox’s expertise. It’d simply be he didn’t keep the journey within the Lawlor’s.

Embed from Getty Pictures

Tullyhill is the one one within the prime three of the market to not have received a Grade One race, solely ending second in final yr’s Champion Bumper.

He received a Listed contest at Punchestown in testing circumstances however has each of his hurdle runs effectively to place him within the body for the race, however circumstances have to be testing for him to carry an enormous probability.

Embed from Getty Pictures

Jeriko Du Reponet represents the UK’s main probabilities within the race.

He received the Rossington Important at Doncaster and had the type of the race franked when Lump Sum went and received the Dovecote at Cheltenham.

Nicky Henderson is just one of two British trainers to win the race within the final ten years, and he’s received it thrice too.


IF Ballyburn turns up within the Supreme, he holds each credential to win and win effectively, with an enormous enhance successful on the DRF to make him the one to beat. 5/4 (Unibet, BetUK). If not, Jeriko Du Reponet wasn’t as much as his customary at Doncaster, however nonetheless received effectively and the shape was backed up by Lump Sum too. 13/2 (Unibet).

Every-way choose: Mistergif is one horse that has not been picked up by anybody but after a monstrous maiden hurdle win at Limerick again in January. That 18-length win gave him an entry into the race and is, probably, the primary runner for homeowners Munir and Souede. Willie Mullins additionally mentioned on his steady tour he “screams an actual good horse to me” 22/1 (Unibet), could be very beneficiant for an emphatic win.


Baring Bingham Novices’ Hurdle – 2m 5F – Grade One

Embed from Getty Pictures

As soon as once more, it’s a case of does Ballyburn come right here. Taking part in Mullins bingo will not be for the faint-hearted.

Having received by 25 lengths over the gap, he’s potential to remain. However the run on the DRF tells me he’ll go for Tuesday’s opener.

Slade Metal was seven lengths behind Ballyburn on the DRF however was stepping down in distance that day and seemed extra snug over the prolonged journey.

He’ll need the bottom testing on the day. However he’s by no means shone within the two wins he’s had this season.

His solely win was the Grade Two at Navan by three-quarters of a size, which reveals he has a preventing spirit. However you want much more when coming to Cheltenham.

It’s the same case for Ile Atlantique, who was talked about when successful by 19 lengths at Gowran on debut. He was rightly stepped up in journey when competing within the Lawlor’s.

Main after the final, he was denied by Readin Tommy Flawed, however was extra spectacular on the attention than his opponent.

With slim finishes behind Firefox and Slade Metal operating in bumpers, it tells us that the successful margin will not be greater than a size.

Mystical Energy appears to be like to be coming right here, avoiding clashing with Jeriko Du Reponet within the Supreme.

It’s an odd alternative for a horse who received the Moscow Flyer in ‘Supreme-style’ and appears like two-miles is made for him.

However Impaire Et Passe received this race final yr and went on to win this race too, so it’s a tried and examined route for prime degree Mullins novices.

Readin Tommy Flawed appears to be underestimated. He going away from Ile Atlantique and the additional furlong will swimsuit him relatively than his stablemate.

He carries an unbeaten document and has loads of good type from his maiden race together with Lisnagar Fortune and Staffordshire Knot ending in behind.

With a Grade One below his belt, he has each probability to go and notch up one other in a aggressive area.


This could possibly be a repeat of final yr with Mystical Energy stepping up in distance after successful the Moscow Flyer. Hopefully he doesn’t take after his mom and nosedives on the final. 3/1 (Normal).

Every-way choose: With all of the main contenders Irish, the perfect shot for the UK is Gidleigh Park. However I’m siding with Handstands for Ben Pauling. He received the Listed Sidney Financial institution’s at Huntingdon, beating a much-fancied Jango Baie. He’s received some engine having been a point-to-point winner over three miles and regardless of wanting low rated, does have some high quality about him. 12/1 (Normal).


Ryanair Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle – 2m 179yds – Grade Two

Embed from Getty Pictures

No favorite has received this race since Laurina in 2018. Final yr, You Put on It Properly received at 16/1 so could we’ve got to look previous the three ante-post favorite to search out the winner?

Brighterdaysahead has already been recognized by Jack Kennedy as his banker for the week. And it doesn’t take a genius to determine why.

Unbeaten in all 5 begins, two double determine successful distances and a Grade Three win to match, the celebrities appear to align for this unbelievable mare for Gordon Elliott.

Her floor desire could also be to the softer facet, however such because the expertise she possesses she received’t thoughts by any means.

Embed from Getty Pictures

However then Jade De Grugy threw her hat into the ring. A potential Honeysuckle reincarnate within the colors of Kenny Alexander however skilled by Mullins.

She was projected into the fray after an explosive 15 size win over Christmas, then backed it up within the Solerina.

She’s solely had two hurdle races below her belt, which can depart her a bit of undercooked. However her expertise solely suggests she received’t cease bettering.

Embed from Getty Pictures

It’s not usually Fergal O’Brien has a dwell hope for the Pageant, however this yr he has two real contenders to ship him an elusive win at his native observe.

Dysart Enos has the same document to Brighterdaysahead however lacks the Graded type.

She’s been continuously spectacular, together with successful a novice hurdle over C&D in December. However type is missing in some areas which places her spectacular wins into query.


Regardless of C&D type, Dysart Enos could fall behind the expertise that’s Brighterdaysahead. And as her identify suggests, there are larger prizes to be received together with her. 2/1 (BetVictor, BetUK).

Every-way choose: Majestic Drive was majestic when successful on debut at Punchestown. After her mistake on the second-last, she responded to all of Rachael Blackmore’s urges and beat odds-on shot Dr Eggman by four-and-a-half lengths. She shall be stepping down in distance, however a galloping observe will swimsuit her massive engine. Actually, one to maintain an eye fixed out for sooner or later if she enters the fray. Persevering with the massive value type of the race at 33/1 (Unibet, BetUK).


Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle – 2m 7F 213yds – Grade One

Embed from Getty Pictures

One of many more durable novice hurdles to work out, producing 9 double-figure priced winners within the final ten renewals. When betting within the race it’s greatest to go digging.

Mullins occupies the primary three within the betting, however withdraw Readin Tommy Flawed. He ought to go to the Baring Bingham as talked about.

Excessive Class Hero is unbeaten, however actually by the pores and skin of his tooth. Chinks have begun to indicate in his armour, notably on the final the place he’s by no means had a snug leap. He’ll must sharpen up if he desires to win this ultra-competitive race.

Embed from Getty Pictures

Dancing Metropolis’s win was extra in regards to the expertise of the jockey on the day. Danny Mullins knew methods to experience the race, main then giving Dancing Metropolis somebody to chase within the ultimate strides. However quick costs imply nothing within the Albert Bartlett.

Embed from Getty Pictures

Gidleigh Park managed to drag his final victory out of the fireplace, after a lower than convincing efficiency round Cheltenham. He confirmed loads of class to remain on and win. He could must deliver that spirit into this race too.

Embed from Getty Pictures

Captain Teague’s hype dipped when shedding at Cheltenham in November however made up for it by successful the Challow. He steps up in distance too and has solely positioned at Cheltenham on earlier runs.

Embed from Getty Pictures

Shanagh Bob is, surprisingly, the shape runner of the race. He shocked Nicky Henderson when successful in December over C&D. Two horses have received since together with Kerryhill who received the River Don at Doncaster on his subsequent begin.


Of the entrance runners, Shanagh Bob is the choose. The shape took a large enhance in current weeks, and he’s been race aimed by Henderson after his victory over C&D in December. Very underestimated at 10/1 (William Hill, BetVictor, Unibet, BetUK).

Every-way choose: If it’s potential to have two, it might be Largy Hill and Croke Park. Largy Hill has already confirmed his class over three miles when breaking his maiden by two-and-three-quarter lengths. Then picked up a Grade Three in opposition to the extremely touted Staffordshire Knot. 25/1 (Unibet).

Croke Park has been crying out for 3 miles since breaking his maiden over two-and-a-half miles again in November. It seemed the mistaken determination to run him within the Lawlor’s, however the type from that race earlier within the season may work out. Elliott has mentioned this horse desires three miles and he can show it. 25/1 (Unibet, BetUK).

Author: Patrick Thomas