Cheltenham Ballymore Hurdle tip analysis: Trends suggest Impaire Et Passe is justifiable favourite

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The Ballymore Novices' Hurdle is a tough test for novices and can prove to be a stepping stone for future top hurdlers and chasers.

Being a Grade 1 race, it takes a top-class animal to win it and previous winners include Sir Gerhard, Bob Ollinger, The New One, Faugheen and Monsignor I have used the trends below to narrow the field and provide a selection for the first race on Wednesday.

  • 16/18 winners came from the top four in the betting

  • 6/9 winners were unbeaten over hurdles.

  • 12/14 winners came from the top two on BHA ratings

  • 18/22 winners returned below 9/1

  • 22/28 winners won last time out

  • 27/28 winners finished 1st or 2nd last time out

  • The Irish have won 13 of the last 20 (8 of last 9)

  • 11/14 winners had won a Graded Novice Hurdle

  • 23/28 winners (including last 11) had won at least one bumper race

  • 16/17 winners were aged five or six years old

  • 10/12 winners were aged six

  • In the last 11 runnings Irish-trained horses have filled 21 of the 33 top three places

  • 22/24 were NH bred.

  • 16/24 had won a graded race before

  • 21 of the last 33 placed horses (11 races) were Irish-trained

  • Horses rated 150+ do well.

  • Look for past Irish point-to-point winners (eight of the last 12 had won an Irish Point)

The trends above left me with a shortlist of three horses - Gaelic Warrior, Hermes Allen and Impaire Et Passe, each of which have the talent to win this race.

Two of those are from the Willie Mullins stable, which has won five of the last fifteen renewals of this race, and has four of this year's entrants, illustrating the strength and depth of the Mullins stable. The odd one out of the three is the Paul Nicholls-trained Hermes Allen, who meets more of the trends than the other contenders, but has a massive negative trend to overcome. Hermes Allen won the Challow Hurdle at Newbury on his last start, and the last nineteen winners of that race have been beaten in the Ballymore and that puts me off his chances here. Gaelic Warrior has an even bigger negative statistic to overcome, with horses that ran in a handicap last time out having an appalling record when running in a Graded contest at the Festival. He is also more exposed as a hurdler than most previous winners. That leaves Impaire Et Passe as the selection on trends and he has been very impressive in his three starts, including winning a Grade 2 contest over a shorter trip last time. Impaire Et Passe has won over two miles and three furlongs and will cope with soft or even heavy going.

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