Lifestyle

Could Ballyburn be the Star of the 2024 Cheltenham Festival?

Irish novice hurdler Ballyburn is one of the horses many racing fans are looking forward to seeing the most at the 2024 Cheltenham Festival. The six-year-old is set to feature in the curtain-raising event of the meeting, the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.

Mullins has won the 2m contest on day one of the Cheltenham Festival on seven occasions, with his latest victory coming in 2021 with Appreciate It. He will be hoping his latest star hurdler can help him extend his record in the race.

Grade One Success at Dublin Racing Festival

Ballyburn goes into the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle as a Grade One winner. He scored at the highest level at the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown. Despite this triumph, he is now -120 in the horse racing odds for his assignment at the Cheltenham Festival.

Mullins’ runner went clear of his rivals at Leopardstown for a seven-length success. He is now one of the leading horse racing tips for the prestigious meeting at Prestbury Park. Victory could see him establish himself as a Champion Hurdle contender in 2025.

The son of Flemensfirth showed a lot of potential last season as he won both of his two bumper races in Ireland. He was beaten on his debut over hurdles at Fairyhouse, but he did not have to wait long to break his maiden, as he was successful just weeks later at Leopardstown.

Opposition in Supreme Novices’ Hurdle

Two of the strongest challengers to Ballyburn in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle may come from his own stable. Mystical Power and Ile Atlantique also have entries in the novice hurdle contest, and strong cases can be made for both horses. The Irish Champion Trainer is likely to be prepared to let his leading novice hurdlers take each other on at Cheltenham.

Mystical Power is unbeaten in three starts, with his latest success coming in the Grade Two Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle at Punchestown. In what an impressive performance, the Irish hurdler scored by seven lengths. 

Ile Atlantique was successful on his first start over hurdles in Ireland back in November at Gowran Park. He won that maiden contest by a wide margin of 19 lengths. That prompted Mullins to step his horse up to Grade One company. Unfortunately for connections of the horse, he just missed out on success at the highest level, as he was second in the Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle. 

Ballyburn will also come up against the best 2m hurdlers in the UK at Cheltenham. One of those is Jeriko Du Reponet, who is trained by former Champion Trainer Nicky Henderson. The five-year-old has a 100% record in his career, with three victories over hurdles. His latest win came at Doncaster in the Grade Two Supreme Trial Rossington Main Novices’ Hurdle. 

The 2024 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle takes place on March 12th at 13:30. A maximum field of 22 runners will line up for the Grade One contest and it is set to be one of the strongest renewals for many years.