That means jump racing fans get the perfect opportunity to see some of the best up-and-coming hurdlers and chasers — many of whom will go on to feature in the ante-post Betdaq racing betting markets for the Festival’s biggest races in the years to follow.
So, with that mind, let’s take a look at three Novices to follow at the upcoming Prestbury Park meeting — which is due to take place between 15th-18th March. Read on to find out more.
Unbeaten in his three races to date, it’s fair to say that Nicky Henderson has one of the most exciting young hurdlers in jumps racing at the minute in his stables. Jonbon won a National Hunt Flat Race on his debut for the English trainer at Newbury last March and made his seasonal reappearance back at the Berkshire course at the end of November — winning a National Hunt Maiden Hurdle.
His most impressive victory to date though was at Ascot last month, when he beat Colonel Mustard over the line by almost three lengths to win the Grade 2 Howden Kennel Gate Novices’ Hurdle. Favourite to win the prestigious Supreme Novices’ Hurdle on Day One of Cheltenham despite a lack of experience, Henderson is still hoping to give the six-year-old another outing beforehand.
Unbeaten in five races, with his last defeat coming over two years ago in December 2019, Ferny Hollow is also quite the Novice. The Willie Mullins-trained horse caused a stir beat the highly-rate Appreciate It — another from the Irishman’s esteemed yard — to win the 2020 Cheltenham Champion Bumper from 11/1 and he later racked up another impressive victory over Henry de Bromhead’s admired Bob Olinger in a Maiden Hurdle at Gowran Park.
After a 380-day break, he returned to the track twice in December — winning a Beginners Chase at Punchestown before his most impressive victory yet at Leopardstown — where he won the Grade 1 Racing Post Novice Chase, beating Gordon Elliott’s Riviere D’etel by a length and a half. The short-price favourite to win the Arkle Chase, Ferny Hollow has the potential be a Champion Chase winner in the coming years.
Three wins from six certainly wasn’t a bad return for Paul Nicholls’ Bravemansgame last season, especially as one of those victories was in the Grade 1 Challow Novices’ Hurdle at Newbury last December. However, successive races without a win at the Cheltenham Festival and Aintree definitely isn’t how the English trainer would have liked to end the season.
But he’s bounced back this season. The seven-year-old won on his reappearance at Newton Abbot in October and hasn’t looked back since, as he landed the Haydock Graduation Chase in November. It was his most recent victory that really proved his worth though. Up against Ahoy Senor in the Grade 1 Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day, Bravemansgame romped home seven and a half lengths clear of the favourite. Still second to Galopin Des Champs in the Festival Novices’ Chase ante-post market, don’t rule this horse out!