Fighting Fifth Hurdle 2021 Offers & Betting Guide

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2020 Fighting Fifth Hurdle Race Recap

Epatante brought a big reputation into the Fighting Fifth Hurdle. She defied weakness in the market on the morning of the race and this being a banana skin for favourites in recent years, as late betting support saw the Champion Hurdle heroine sent off odds-on for a third a Grade 1 win of her career. There would be drama in Newcastle, but thankfully for backers of the jolly she wasn’t involved. Epatante secured a record sixth Fighting Fifth Hurdle win for trainer Nicky Henderson and fifth success for owner JP McManus. She ran out an effortless 4¼ lengths winner over race-fit rival Sceau Royal on her first start since tasting Cheltenham Festival glory.

Before all that unfolded, however, the unfancied 22/1 chance Not So Sleepy from the Hughie Morrison stable virtually refused at the first hurdle and unseated jockey Paddy Brennan. Running loose, this horse caused havoc when carrying out Evan Williams’s 5/1 fancy Silver Streak at the second flight. That left a diminished field of four left in the race. Previous Fighting Fifth Hurdle hero Cornerstone Lad, who had won the race 12 months earlier, was withdrawn by trainer Micky Hammond on the morning of the race on account of unsuitably good ground. Not So Sleepy wasn’t finished with his involved, however, as he lurched across the track throughout the race, hampering Alan King’s 3/1 second-favourite Sceau Royal on the run to the third last.

The front two pulled some seven lengths clear of the third home, Nicky Richards’s Ribble Valley who was a weak 16/1 shot in the market. That horse and fellow northern raider Voix Du Reve, a recent recruit to Scottish trainer Iain Jardine’s yard and totally unfancied at 200/1, had their own private battle for the minor honours and third place prize money. They were no match for Epatante, however, who has been cut by bookmakers for a successful defence of her Champion Hurdle crown come the 2021 Cheltenham Festival.

Fighting Fifth Hurdle Info

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 2021 edition being run on Saturday 27th 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.

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2021 Fighting Fifth Hurdle Key Runners

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Fighting Fifth Hurdle 2021 Favourites:

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Fighting Fifth Hurdle Stats & Trends

The first thing to note about the Fighting Fifth Hurdle is its recent history of upsets. Some hot favourites have been beaten at Newcastle in this race recently, so don’t rule out the possibility of a shock. Newbies can be someway protected by Cheltenham new account offers, but more experienced punters will need to think about their bets well. Trends and stats go out the window when upsets happen, but it is worth knowing the following:

2019 Fighting Fifth Hurdle Results

What Happened in 2019?

The reputation that the Fighting Fifth Hurdle has for upsets continued when Cornerstone Lad made almost every yard of the running and turned over long odds-on favourite Buveur D’Air, who was bidding for a historic hat-trick in the race. Only one horse, the legendary Comedy Of Errors, has managed to win it three years running. Buveur D’Air picked up a nasty injury to his right fore hoof when part of a hurdle bar splintered off into it.

Given what happened to Nicky Henderson and JP McManus’s star hurdler, it was miraculous that he finished the race. Buveur D’Air went down fighting by a short-head to the Yorkshire trained 16/1 Cornerstone Lad on desperately heavy ground with the front two pulling over three lengths clear of Listed Kempton scorer Silver Streak. Useful dual purpose mare Lady Buttons, also trained in the White Rose country, was back in fourth and didn’t quite run up to her form.

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:

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About the Author

Jamie Clark has been around horse racing and betting his entire life. His father and godfather ran a trackside bookmaker’s pitch at Market Rasen Racecourse in Lincolnshire for many years. Jamie was Sports Editor for Coral’s digital platforms between 2014 and 2017, and has since become a successful freelancer.


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