Cheltenham November Meeting – Novice Stars Set For Ballymore
Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle Runner-By-Runner Preview
Many in-form horses and stables look set to clash in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle on Friday. Our experts provide a runner-by-runner preview of the race and include who they fancy to come out on top.
15:30 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle, 2m5f
OFF YOUR ROCCO 11/4
Winning four of its five career starts to date, Off Your Rocco will be looking to provide trainer Gordon Elliot with another Cheltenham winner. Since returning under Elliot’s care, the five-year-old was impressive in taking a Listowel Novice hurdle over 2miles in September. Connections then opted to step Off Your Rocco up to 2m5f in Listed company at Limerick in October, the five-year-old travelled well and appreciated the trip in the soft conditions.
With a mark of 133, Off Your Rocco will have to give away a penalty against some unexposed types but he also has the opportunity to improve further and has the ability to handle most ground types.
BLAZING KHAL 4/1
After winning a bumper at Limerick back in December 2020, Blazing Khal returned to the track after 279 days and won well on hurdle debut at Galway in October. The five-year-old will certainly improve for his return to racing but there will be a slight concern regarding the going as Blazing Khal has been kept exclusively to soft or heavy ground, the likely sounder surface may not suit and he may just find one or two too good in this event.
GELINO BELLO 11/8
Trainer Paul Nicholls appears to once again have a strong team of Novice hurdlers this campaign and Gelino Bello appears to be firmly in that bracket. After finishing third in February in a Listed bumper at Aintree, confidence was high as he made his hurdle debut back at the Liverpool track.
Sent off as the favourite, Gelino Bello relished the step up in trip and hurdles and quickened up well to score by six lengths at the line. Plenty more improvement will be forthcoming from the five-year-old and he can confirm the promise of his sole hurdle start with another victory at Cheltenham.
Charlie Longsdon and Brian Hughes will be looking to Glencassley to provide them both with another winner this season. The 122 rated six-year-old has won its last two starts at Southwell and Wetherby having been sent off odds on favourite on both occasions. Despite both trainer and jockey being in red hot form at the moment, Glencassley will have to brush up his jumping technique to go close in this, he made some bad mistakes last time out and won’t be able to get away with that now facing this level of opposition.
KAYF HERNANDO 12/1
Team Skelton will be confident of a profitable three day’s at this years November Meeting. The likes of Novice prospect My Drogo and Nuba Negra will be on many people’s minds this weekend but Kayf Hernando may have slipped under the radar. With just two starts to date, the five-year-old made a winning hurdling debut at Carlisle when beating the once highly rated Mr Whittaker.
Kayf Hernando stayed on very well in the closing stages of the 2m4f race to get up close home. There will be improvement to come after that recent win and the five-year-old will be doing his best work late and may be able to pick up the pieces.
CURRENT MOOD 8/1
Current Mood has registered two quick successes recently for Welsh trainer Evan Williams. After winning over 2miles at Ffos Las the six-year-old mare stepped up in distance to 2m5f at Ludlow where she travelled well and stayed on to assert over the last hurdle. The only mare in the lineup will be up against the boys and will have to improve again if she is to take this Grade 2 contest.
There will be more to come from Kayf Hernando after a promising win last time out, and Off Your Rocco looks for a hat-trick and appears to be the best of the two Irish challengers. However, there are some top Novice’ hurdlers on show this weekend and none more so than the Paul Nicholls trained GELINO BELLO who created a big impression when scoring at Aintree when last seen. The five-year-old will be fancied to win this race and climb the ranks this season as one of Britain’s leading Novice hurdlers.