Fighting Fifth Hurdle Date is 28th November 2019

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Type: Grade 1 handicap race (2 miles ½ furlongs)

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Trial race for the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival

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Fighting Fifth Hurdle

The Fighting Fifth Hurdle was established in 1969, its title being an ode to the nickname of the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers based close to Newcastle where this race is of course run.

Newcastle’s top hurdle race, these days a Grade 1 event, has been won in the past by such superstars as Sea Pigeon and Kribensis among others and is considered one of the best trials for the Champion Hurdle that takes place on Day 1 of the Cheltenham Festival.

The Fighting Fifth is run over two miles and half a furlong and takes place in late November or early December every year, the 2019 edition being run on Saturday 28th November.

As well as the aforementioned stars, this race has been successfully used as a Champion Hurdle stepping stone by Buveur D’Air as recently as 2017 and, but for an unfortunate fall, he could well have landed the race again last year having taken this event in great style just over three months earlier.

Fighting Fifth Hurdle Stats & Trends

As a Grade 1 race you would naturally expect this race to be won by a high-class hurdler, and indeed it usually is. As such, age is relatively unimportant with 17 of the last 19 Fighting Fifth winners aged 5-8, with one 4-year-old and one at 9 having taken the race in this time.

Even a brief glance at winning connections tells you that you should be on the lookout for those trained by top yards, especially those travelling from the south or from Ireland, though jockey bookings are less telling as trainers can have runners wherever they like but riders may have engagements a little closer to home.

The class of horse it takes to win the Fighting Fifth means that they rarely arrive under the radar, as such 10 out of 19 favourites have won in this time frame. Taking out two 25/1 winners, the average SP of a Fighting Fifth scorer is 2/1 meaning you should not be looking too far down the betting list to find your selection.

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Past Fighting Fifth Hurdle Winners

Given the great record of favourites in the race and the fact that Gordon Elliott had brought him all the way from Ireland, 6/5 jolly Samcro was very much expected to win the Fighting Fifth Hurdle 2018.

Indeed, Jack Kennedy’s mount put in a high-class display and finished 13 lengths clear of Vision Des Flos, however he was no match for the 2017 winner Buveur D’Air who romped away to land the race for a second time by fully 8 lengths at the line, priced-up the 11/8 second-favourite.

On this occasion Nicky Henderson’s star hurdler could not go on to make it a second winning Champion Hurdle performance after his exciting Fighting Fifth Newcastle 2018 win, though after falling at Cheltenham when very well fancied, but nonetheless it was a top-quality renewal.

Here’s how Fighting Fifth winners have done at the Festival since 2010:

Year Winner Age Jockey Trainer Festival Performance
2018 Buveur D’Air 7 Barry Geraghty Nicky Henderson Fell in Champion Hurdle
2017 Buveur D’Air 6 Barry Geraghty Nicky Henderson 1st in Champion Hurdle
2016 Irving 8 Harry Cobden Paul Nicholls Did not race
2015 Identity Thief 5 Bryan Cooper Henry De Bromhead 6th in Champion Hurdle
2014 Irving 6 Nick Scholfield Paul Nicholls Did not race
2013 My Tent Or Yours 6 Tony McCoy Nicky Henderson 2nd in Champion Hurdle
2012 Countrywide Flame 4 Denis O’Regan John Quinn 3rd in Champion Hurdle
2011 Overturn 7 Jason Maguire Donald McCain 2nd in Champion Hurdle
2010 Peddlers Cross 5 Jason Maguire Donald McCain 2nd in Champion Hurdle