The Challow Novices’ Hurdle is a Grade One event that is run over a trip of 2m4f at Newbury racecourse.
Sponsored by Mansionbet the contest has been won by some promising sorts over the years, including Wichita Lineman, Diamond Harry, Reve De Sivola, Fingal Bay, Taquin du Seuil, while last year’s contest was won by the classy Thyme Hill.
In recent years, we’ve seen 6 of the last 11 market leaders win the race while trainers Nick Williams and Jonjo O’Neill have won the race 5 times between them since 2006. 12 months ago the classy Bravemansgame, who has returned this season to win 3-from-3 over fences, took the race for trainer Paul Nicholls.
Here at TQ, we give you all the key stats ahead of the 2021 renewal, this year staged on Wednesday 29th December 2021.
Recent Challow Hurdle Winners
2020 - BRAVEMANSGAME (5/2 jfav)
2019 – THYME HILL (4/6 fav)
2018 – CHAMP (Evs fav)
2017 – POETIC RHYTHM (15/8 fav)
2016 – MESSIRE DES OBEAUX (11/4)
2015 – BARTERS HILL (4/11 fav)
2014 – PARLOUR GAMES (6/1)
2013 – CAPTAIN CUTTER (8/1)
2012 – TAQUIN DU SEUIL (13/8 fav)
2011 – FINGAL BAY (1/4 fav)
2010 – BACKSPIN (5/1)
2009 – REVE DE SIVOLA (15/8)
2008 – DIAMOND HARRY (4/6 fav)
2007 – SOUFFLUER (7/1)
2006 – WICHITA LINEMAN (11/4)
Key Challow Hurdle Trends
15/15 – Returned 8/1 or shorter in the betting
15/15 – Had raced in the last 8 weeks
15/15 – Placed in the top 3 last time out
15/15 – Had won no more than 3 times over hurdles before
14/15 – Had raced in the last 6 weeks
12/15 – Favourites that finished in the top 3
12/15 – Went onto run at the Cheltenham Festival (1 winner, Wichita Lineman, 2006)
11/15 – Won between 2-3 times over hurdles before
11/15 – Had won over 2m4f or further (hurdles) before
11/15 – Won last time out
9/15 – Had won a Grade 2 Hurdle race before
8/16 – Aged 5 years-old
8/16 – Winning favourites (5 of the last 6)
7/16 – Irish bred
3/16 – Trained by Jonjo O’Neill
2/16 – Trained by Nick Williams
2/16 – Ridden by Daryl Jacob
The average winning SP in the last 16 runnings is 11/4
TQ VERDICT: A decent looking renewal of this Grade One Hurdle with some very promising novice hurdlers on show. The Paul Nicholls-trained Stage Star will be all the rage after two easy wins at Chepstow and here over this course and distance. He's clearly well regarded and the Nicholls yard won this race 12 months ago too (Bravemansgame) so will be hoping to follow-up. The niggle for me though is that he's been sent off 2/7 fav both times he's won over hurdles so it's hard to actually assess what he's beaten. This will be a big step up in grade here too and he looks to face a strong challenge from several others. The Gordon Elliott yard bring over Gringo D'aubrelle, who was a nice winner at Fairyhouse last month. He kept on well that day over 2m to suggest this step up to 2m4f will also suit - he's another for the shortlist. However, I was taken by the way the Tom Lacey runner - LOSSIEMOUTH - won the Grade Two Winter Novices' Hurdle at Sandown earlier this month - powering away up the hill to beat a good field, including the Nicholls-trained Brave Kingdom (3rd), by 14 and 6 lengths. Yes, his jumping was a bit sketchy at times, but he's still learning and it was hard to not be taken by the way he knuckled down in the final half a mile to win with bundles in-hand. The softer ground here looks a plus too and he's also the clear top-rated in the field at 144, with Stage Star rated 139. Of the rest, West Balboa, Party Business, Go Dante and High Stakes make up the seven runners. That quartet all have place claims, having run fair races last time out, but you feel they would have to improve a bit more to trouble the main three mentioned. Of that bunch, the Dan Skelton-trained WEST BALBOA (e/w) - looks the most interesting. She's only had one run under rules and that was a easy 17l win at Warwick last month, while being a mare gets a handy 7lbs allowance from all the others. Her form is an unknown, but it would be no shock if she went well here too.