Ballymore Hurdle Tips – Is Envoi Allen banker material in the Day 2 opener?

Ballymore Novice Hurdle Tips

Daryl Carter (@darylcarter7) gives the latest of his Cheltenham Festival tips in the Ballymore Novice Hurdle, which takes place on Cheltenham Festival Day two, Wednesday, March 11.

Age plays a huge part in this and, if you’re a seven-year-old, you can forget your chances as they have a terrible record in the race and even the mighty Champ couldn’t overcome that stat last year. The Ballymore Novice Hurdle has produced some outstanding horses over the years and has produced more Champion Hurdle horses than traditional trial Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.

Ballymore Hurdle Tips – Banker material?

Heading the betting at a very short price is ENVOI ALLEN. The unbeaten Gordon Elliott stable star is yet to taste defeat in seven starts under rules and has impressed with his powerful finishing efforts over the shorter trip of two miles.

For many, he is a Cheltenham Festival Day 2 banker in this race after he stepped up to 2m4f in the Grade 1 Lawlor’s of Naas and ran out a comfortable winner by a shade over three lengths. However, that performance was rather underwhelming as Envoi Allen looked to be tiring at the end of the 2m4f trip and hardly looked to be crying out for a further furlong with a stiff uphill finish such as Cheltenham’s.

The price at this time is one to avoid. He clearly sets the form standard but the closing sectionals on his last run suggests that this extra distance might stretch his stamina at this stage of his career. The stats and trends, though, stack up in his favour and he remains the right market leader.

Stablemate shock

Gigginstown and Gordon Elliott have the next two in the betting with EASYWORK and ABACADABRAS. The latter is likely to go elsewhere but Easywork could line up here and take on his stablemate Envoi Allen.

Easywork has been impressive in both hurdle starts this term with his win at Gowran Park receiving an emphatic boost by the runner-up next time out in a maiden hurdle. His most impressive performance came at Limerick, where he took care of odds-on favourite Unexcepted by 22l.

He has encountered heavy ground on both starts and needs to prove he handles a quicker surface at the Cheltenham Festival, but he rates an exciting and powerful prospect who needs taking seriously and makes plenty of appeal at the prices at this stage. 

British runner on the rise

FIDDLERONTHEROOF continues to go from strength to strength with each run. Now a Grade 1 winner after his success in the Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown over two miles, he rates a potential challenger with the step up in trip expected to suit.

Seven of the last ten of the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle winners had never run over the trip before the race and his official rating is 2lb higher than any other British contender. However, for win purposes, Colin Tizzard’s runner is better with soft in the going description and that will likely play a vital role, even with the step up in trip. Only one of the last ten winners of this race has course experience, so you should not be put off by the lack of a Cheltenham run. Solid chance.

Not much to find, but will he run?

Champion Bumper third and unbeaten hurdler THYME HILL has been a model of consistency this term without reaching the heights of some others in this line up. The Grade 1 Challow Hurdle winner has options of stepping up in trip for the Albert Bartlett, which will likely see him to best effect, but the bare form of what he has achieved over hurdles leaves him with a bit to find with his rivals.

Winners of the Challow Hurdle have a poor record in the Ballymore Novice Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival but he rates a likeable type who could have more to come over this trip. On the bare form of the Champion Bumper he only has a couple lengths to find with the short-priced favourite.

Serious rival to the favourite

THE BIG GETAWAY got his career firmly back on track with an eye-catching performance at Naas after blundering his chance away on hurdles debut. There was little strength to that form but Willie Mullins’ promising recruit cruised clear under an uncomplicated ride from Paul Townend, thriving on front-running tactics.

That was a marked improvement on what he’d achieved thus far in his career but there is every chance he has plenty more to offer now the penny seems to have dropped. He does have form lines that tie in behind Fiddlerontheroof from his bumper days, when he finished less than two lengths behind him, but its safe to say both horses have progressed and he could be a serious rival to Envoi Allen.


Ballymore Hurdle Tips – Big race verdict

While Gordon Elliot’s Envoi Allen looks to have a lot in his favour, the simple fact is that he’s very short. From a betting point of view I’m much more inclined to get stuck into FIDDLERONTHEROOF after his excellent win in the Tolworth Hurdle – a race that tends to produce smart horses.