The opening race of the afternoon on Day 2 of the Cheltenham Festival sees some exciting Grade 1 action. The Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle takes place over 2m5f and has nine horses currently set to run on the hallowed Cheltenham turf.
Best Bet for Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle
Sir Gerhard @ 8/11 with BetUK
The highest rated horse in the Ballymore and it is clear to see why. He won the Champion Bumper at the 2021 Cheltenham Festival and has two wins to back that up, both at Leopardstown, since then.
Sir Gerhard when on form, should be the horse to beat in this race. Paul Townend takes the reigns for Willy Mullins again, having won several times as a pair before on this 7-year-old. He keeps on when it’s needed and is rightfully a heavy favourite for this opener on Day 2 at Cheltenham.
The fact he has won here before, albeit not over hurdles like this race is, will stand him in great stead here. Seems to stay on well and has plenty in the tank if he needs it.
Three Stripe Life and Journey With Me for Gordon Elliott and Henry De Bromhead respectively look to pose the biggest threat to Sir Gerhard on paper. However, if he is in top form and jumps well, the Cheveley Park Stud owned horse should claim his first win at the Cheltenham Festival over hurdles.
Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle each-way bet
I Am Maximus @ 12/1 with BetUK
This Nicky Henderson trained 6-year-old goes into the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle as a relative outsider, but we think he may go well under Nico De Boinville.
I Am Maximus has won around this course before, but not at the Festival, back in October 2020. His last outing was also a Class 1 Listed race here in January, where he finished second to Hillcrest over a similar distance.
Ran out of steam every so slightly in that race, but did respond well when ridden and had every chance heading into the final half a furlong.
Although we don’t necessarily think he has enough to win here, with several quality horses to contend with, we do believe he has a chance to get some each-way money for punters looking for some value. A great price at 12/1 with BetUK and should go well for the Henderson stable.
Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle Free Bets