February 2023

Bristol Novices’ Hurdle

The Bristol Novices’ Hurdle is a Grade 2 novices’ hurdle run over 2 miles, 7 furlongs and 213 yards on the New Course at Cheltenham in December. The race is open to horses aged four years and upwards which, at the start of the current season, have yet to win a race over hurdles. The Bristol Novices’ Hurdle was inaugurated, over 2 miles, 4 furlongs and 110 yards, in 1988, but was extended to its current distance, and elevated to Grade 2 status, in 1994. Since 2007, the race has been sponsored by potato supplier Albert Bartlett and run as the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle.

Notable winners of the Bristol Novices’ Hurdle down the years include subsequent Queen Mother Champion Chase winner Remittance Man (1989), Grand National winners Bindaree (1999) and Comply Or Die (2003), Stayers’ Hurdle winner Iris’s Gift (2002) and, last, but by no means least, Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Coneygree (2012). Nigel Twiston-Davies, trainer of Bindaree, also saddled Bosuns Mate (1998), Blaklion (2014), Wholestone (2016) and Redford Road (2019) to victory in the Bristol Novices’ Hurdle and is the most successful handler in the history of the race, with five winners in all.

The 2022 renewal of the Bristol Novices’ Hurdle is scheduled for 2:25pm on Saturday, December 10, day two of The International Meeting at Cheltenham. Ante-post prices are not yet available, but recent trends suggest that punters should focus on horses aged five or six years, with recent, preferably winning, form recorded no longer than six weeks previously. For the record, all bar three of the last dozen winners had an official handicap rating of 132, or higher, and all bar two were in the first three in the betting on the day of the race.