Baring Bingham Novices’ Hurdle Stats and Trends: Age, Trainer, Finishing Position, Previous Starts & Highest Grade Odds

The four championship-level events may hog the headlines at the Cheltenham Festival, but just below them in terms of prestige are the various top-class events for novice hurdlers and chasers. There are six such events at the March meeting with at least one on each of the four days.

Kicking off the Wednesday card is this 2m5f affair for the most promising up-and-coming hurdlers. Offering £135,000 (2024) in total prize money, the Baring Bingham Novices’ Hurdle attracts the cream of the crop from both sides of the Irish Sea, providing a suitable target for those runners for whom the 2m of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle is too short and the 3m of the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle is probably just a little too far.

Formerly known as the Sun Alliance Novices’ Hurdle and Ballymore Novices Hurdle, the official title of the race honours the man who organised the first Cheltenham Festival over 100 years ago in 1902. Whatever the title, the race has been landed by an impressive array of star names, with Istabraq, Hardy Eustace, Simonsig, Faugheen, and Envoi Allen all featuring on the roll of honour.

Always one of the biggest betting heats on Day 2 of this magical fixture, here, we look back at the 23 editions between 2000 and 2023 (sadly there was no race in 2001 as a result of the foot and mouth epidemic) and highlight a selection of stats and trends which may help identify the most likely contenders.

Baring Bingham Novices’ Hurdle: Age Trends

Baring Bingham Novices Hurdle Age of Winner

Whilst being open to chasers aged four and older, only three four-year-olds have come home in front in the history of the race, and none since 1991. At the other end of the scale, Brown Lad is out on his own as the oldest winner, having landed the prize as an eight-year-old in 1974. All bar one of the 23 editions between 2000 and 2023 fell to a runner aged five or six, with the seven-year-old Sir Gerhard (2022) the only exception. Six-year-olds boast the best record – winning 16 of the 23 (69.57%) renewals and so are the obvious route to narrowing things down here.

Baring Bingham Novices’ Hurdle: Trainer Stats

Baring Bingham Novices Hurdle Top Trainers

The Baring Bingham Novices’ Hurdle has been a relatively open affair in the current century, with the 23 editions in our sample shared between 16 different trainers. However, that hasn’t prevented Willie Mullins from moving well clear as the most successful trainer in the history of the race, with six wins between 2008 and 2023. Gordon Elliott and Nigel Twiston-Davies are, in fact, the only other trainers with more than one win over this period, boasting two each.

Thanks in no small part to the exploits of Willie Mullins, the Irish held the edge over this spell, with 14 wins to nine for the home team. That includes nine of 10 for the raiders between 2014 and 2023.

Baring Bingham Novices’ Hurdle: Finishing Position Last Time Out

Baring Bingham Novices Hurdle Finishing Position Last Time Out

If the 2000-2023 period is any a guide, a positive performance on their most recent racecourse appearance is very much a must in this event – and preferably a winning one. An impressive 18 of 23 (78.26%) had also scored on their previous outing, whilst all 23 had at least finished in the first three.

Baring Bingham Novices’ Hurdle: Previous Starts Over Fences

Baring Bingham Novices Previous Hurdle Starts

As a race targeted at runners in the early stages of their hurdling career, few arrive at Cheltenham with many hurdles outings behind them. It is, therefore, no real surprise that 21 of 23 winners (91.30%) had five or fewer efforts over timber – 2007 champ Massini’s Maguire being the most significant outlier with nine. Interestingly, all 10 winners between 2014 and 2023 had three or fewer previous hurdles runs so experience does not seem to be much of a factor here.

Baring Bingham Novices’ Hurdle: Proven Class an Advantage

Baring Bingham Novices Hurdle Highest Grade of Previous Win

This event represents the ultimate test for the Novices over this distance and is invariably significantly hotter than the Graded events earlier in the season. As such, it makes sense that those runners with previous Graded form are worthy of note. 9 of 23 winners (39.13%) had already scored in Grade 1 company, whilst 17 (73.91%) had won at Grade 3 level or above.

Baring Bingham Novices’ Hurdle: Fate of the Favourite

The 2000-2008 period featured just one winning favourite, but that record subsequently improved, with three between 2009 and 2017 and five between 2018 and 2023. A £1 level stakes bet on the market leader returned a loss of £4.22 over the 2000-2023 period. Overall, 19 of 23 winners returned a single-figure SP, and all bar one were priced at odds of 14/1 or shorter. The Philip Hobbs-trained Massini’s Maguire caused the biggest shock when coming out on top at 20/1 in 2007.

Baring Bingham Novices’ Hurdle: Other Stats

  • 21 of 23 winners had previously won over 2m4f or further.
  • Ruby Walsh topped the jockey table over this period with four wins. Davy Russell is next, on three, followed by Jason Maguire and Paul Townend on two. Of those riders, all bar Paul Townend had retired from the saddle before the 2024 edition of the Cheltenham Festival.
  • All 23 winners had run within the last 74 days.
  • If the previous season’s Champion Bumper winner lines up for this, they may be well worth a closer look. This scenario only occurred three times over this period, but that trio of runners finished second, first, and first in this event.
  • Having provided three winners, the Grade 1 Deloitte Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown was the most common route into the race. Two winners took in Cheltenham’s Classic Novice Hurdle, the Lawlor’s of Naas Novices’ Hurdle, Leamington Novices’ Hurdle at Warwick, or Punchestown’s Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle on their previous start.