1st (3) Fiveforthree 7-1
The red and white scarves were out in force to cheer home Forpadydeplasterer in the Ballymore Properties Novices’ Hurdle but it was his compatriot Fiveforthree, also sporting red and white, who came home best of a clutch of strongly-fancied Irish raiders.
Outbattling Grade Two winner Venalmar up the hill, Fiveforthree, who was making his second Cheltenham Festival appearance after finishing fifth in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper last year, won by a neck at odds of 7/1.
Winning trainer Willie Mullins, who took his sixth Champion Bumper yesterday with Cousin Vinny, said: “He’s never run over more than two miles before but looking at his pedigree, when we were making the decision between this race and the Supreme Novices’, he’s all stamina and that showed in the last two furlongs. He just had to stay every inch of that which he did so we’re delighted.”
Michael Hillary, who runs The Olde Crowbars Syndicate which owns the horse and is made up of friends from Dublin and Tipperary, said: “This is absolutely fantastic. The Crowbars is a name of a rugby club and he’s running in the colours of the club. Some of our winnings will be going to Camp Hill, which provides sheltered housing just outside Dublin.”
Ruby Walsh, the winning rider, said: “He was a bit novicey. He missed the second last and I had to use a bit to get into the race but by god he battled back from the last.
“It is in his pedigree that he stays, he’s a half brother to Celestial Gold and Escargot is in the pedigree and by god he did stay!
“I thought he might fold on me half way up but he’s stuck his head out. I’m glad he’s won because it was half my call that he ran in this race and not the other (the Anglo Irish Bank Supreme Novices’).”
The jockey of the second, Paddy Flood, was given a six-day ban for his use of the whip by the stewards.
HIGH HOPES FOR BALLYMORE SECOND VENALMAR
Trainer Mouse Morris was disappointed that Venalmar failed by a neck to match Fiveforthree in the Ballymore Properties Novices’ Hurdle.
“He’s as good as any horse I’ve brought to Cheltenham,” said
Morris. “He might go to Punchestown but he’s 17 hands and
crying out for fences. He is going to be a hell of a horse when he goes
chasing next season.”
Trafford Lad could never quite get to grips with the two leaders up the hill and trainer Eamonn Sheedy was particularly disappointed that his horse could not beat Venalmar.
“We were a head behind at Naas and the weights favoured us so I would have hoped we could beat him. The ground may not have favoured us,” said Sheehy.
“It was a hell of a race, though,” he added, “And he’s still a very immature horse, so he can only get better.”
Ballymore Properties Novices' Hurdle - Analysis
The Ballymore Properties Novices’ Hurdle, known for producing
future champions such as Istabraq and Hardy Eustace, has attracted a
huge entry of 156, including 57 from Ireland.
Nicky Henderson’s nine-strong entry is headed by the J P McManus-owned
Aigle D’Or. The five-year-old was an impressive winner over Hold
Em in the same sponsor’s trial race at Cheltenham on January 26,
in which last year’s Ballymore Properties Novices’ Hurdle
winner Massini’s Maguire was third 12 months ago. This year’s
fourth, fifth and sixth from that race, Razor Royal, Gauvain and Flower
Haven, are also among the entries.
Champion trainer Paul Nicholls is also well-represented at this stage
with seven possibles, headed by this month’s Grade One Tolworth
Hurdle winner Breedsbreeze, who carries the famous Best Mate colours
of Jim Lewis. The Dicheat trainer’s team also includes I’msingingtheblues,
a winner of the Grade Two Anglo Irish Bank Private Banking Novices’ Hurdle
at Cheltenham on November 13 and Grade One Ballymore Properties Challow
Novices' Hurdle runner-up Elusive Dream.
Seeking a 14th win in the race, the raiding party from across the Irish
Sea looks to have a particularly strong hand in the two mile, five furlong
Grade One contest.
Among the Irish entries are Oliver McKiernan’s Whatuthink and
Tom Cooper’s Forpadydeplasterer, who filled the first two places
in the Grade Two Future Champions Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown in December
ahead of Majestic Concorde, Aranleigh and Antipode, are among the entries,
along with Eamonn Sheehy’s Grade One scorer Trafford Lad.
The last-named narrowly failed to defy a penalty when finishing second to Mouse Morris’ smart hurdle Venalmar in the Grade Two Slaney Novice Hurdle at Navan earlier this month.
Race sponsor Sean Mulryan may bid to get a portion of the £120,000
prize fund back with Brodimix, who has joined Martin Brassil after winning
three hurdles and a Flat race in France. Connections of Smurfit Kappa
Champion Hurdle favourite Sizing Europe are represented by stablemate
Sizing Africa in the entries.
Last year’s winning trainer Philip Hobbs has entered three, including
smart Flat recruit Cutting Crew, who has yet to make his hurdling debut,
and I Hear A Symphony, a bumper winner in Ireland for Mag Mullins who
could carry the colours of last year’s winner for owner Alan Peterson.
Hobbs is also represented by County Zen, who followed up a second to
I’msingingtheblues at Wincanton with two successes at the end of
With the most entries, Alan King’s 10 are topped by dual Cheltenham Grade Two scorer Franchoek, Group Captain, a smart Flat performer who has won both of his start over hurdles, and last year’s Fred Winter Juvenile Novices’ Handicap Hurdle fourth Zilcash.
Previous results - BALLYMORE PROPERTIES NOVICES’ HURDLE
2006-WINNER-NICANOR 5-11-07 Owner-Des Sharkey; Trainer-Noel Meade IRE;
Jockey-Paul Carberry; SP-17/2
REFUGE 5-11-07 Owner-Andrea & Graham
Wylie; Trainer-Howard Johnson; Jockey-Graham Lee; SP-17/2
2004-WINNER-FUNDAMENTALIST 6-11-07 Owner-Gripen; Trainer-Nigel Twiston-Davies;
Jockey-Carl Llewellyn; SP-12/1
2003-WINNER-HARDY EUSTACE 5-11-07 Owner-Laurence Byrne; Trainer-Dessie
Hughes IRE; Jockey-Kieran Kelly; SP-6/1
2002-WINNER-GALILEO 6-11-07 Owner-Sharon Nelson, Allan Stennett, Terry
Warner; Trainer-Tom George; Jockey-Jason Maguire; SP-12/1
2001-Cancelled (Foot and Mouth Disease)
2000-WINNER-MONSIGNOR 6-11-07 Owner-Malcolm Denmark; Trainer-Mark Pitman;
Jockey-Norman Williamson; SP-5/4 Fav
1999-WINNER-BARTON 6-11-07 Owner-Stan Clarke; Trainer-Tim Easterby;
Jockey-Lorcan Wyer, SP-2/1 Fav
1998-WINNER-FRENCH HOLLY 7-11-07 Owner-Kieran Flood; Trainer-Ferdy Murphy;
Jockey-Andrew Thornton; SP-2/1 Fav
1997-WINNER-ISTABRAQ 5-11-07 Owner-J P McManus;
IRE; Jockey-Charlie Swan; SP-6/5 Fav
BALLYMORE PROPERTIES NOVICES’ HURDLE
Year Winner Age/Wt Jockey Trainer Owner SP Ran
BALLYMORE PROPERTIES NOVICES’ HURDLE
1. The Ballymore Properties Novices’ Hurdle was introduced to
The Festival in 1971 as the Aldsworth Hurdle. Sun Alliance, who merged
with Royal Insurance in 1996, took it on in 1974, together with the Sun
Alliance Chase, having previously sponsored the Foxhunter Chase. Ballymore
Properties sponsored the contest for the first time in 2007.
2. The Ballymore Properties Novices’ Hurdle, along with the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle and the Royal & SunAlliance Chase, are acknowledged as championship races for the staying novice hurdler and chaser.
3. Only one horse has won both the Ballymore Properties Novices’ Hurdle
and the Royal & SunAlliance Chase. The West Awake took the hurdle
race in 1987 and the chase event a year later.
4. The smallest field for the Ballymore Properties Novices' Hurdle was
14 in 2000, when there were three non-runners. Previously the lowest
number of runners was 15 in 1973, the year of Willie Wumpkins, who later
dominated the Coral Golden Hurdle Final at The Festival with three straight
wins from 1979-81. There were also 15 runners in 2004 and 2007. The largest
field was 29, achieved in 1979, 1984 and 1991. The current safety limit
5. The Irish-trained 1994 winner, Danoli, was the subject of a massive
gamble and was sent off the 7/4 favourite. The shortest-priced winner
was another Irish victor, Mr Kildare, at 8/11 in 1978. Favourites have
been successful in 12 of the 36 runnings. The longest-priced winner was
40/1 chance Even Dawn in the second running in 1972.
6. The Irish have an excellent record in the Ballymore Properties Novices’ Hurdle
with 13 wins, including six consecutive victories from 1973-78. Nicanor,
trained by Noel Meade, scored for the Irish in 2006 when upsetting hot
7. Aidan O’Brien, Martin Pipe, Oliver Sherwood, Mick O'Toole,
Edward O'Grady and Nigel Twiston-Davies have each won two Ballymore Properties
Novices’ Hurdles. Oliver Sherwood and Dessie Hughes are the two
trainers to have also won the race as jockeys. Sherwood was in the saddle
on Venture To Cognac in 1979, while his training wins were with The West
Awake (1987) and Rebel Song (1988). Dessie Hughes was twice successful
as a jockey with Davy Lad (1975) and Parkhill (1976) and sent out Hardy
Eustace (2003) to victory as a trainer.
8. The fastest time for the winning horse was 4m 52.0s set by Monsignor
in 2000, beating the 4m 56.2s of Regal Ambition in 1990.
9. Istabraq (1997) and Hardy Eustace (2003) both won this race en route to victory in the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle while Davy Lad (1975) went on to take the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup.
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