Royal Bond Novice Hurdle Date is Sunday, 29 November 2021 (1:05)

Racecourse: Fairyhouse


Type: Grade 1 National Hunt Novice Hurdle

Age Of The Horses: For Four Year Olds And Up


Distance: 2 Miles

2019 Winner: Envoi Allen

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Page Contents

General Race Info

Runners & Tips

Betting Offers

Stats & Trends

Past Winners

Royal Bond Novice Hurdle General Info

One of Fairyhouse’s top races, the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle is a Grade 1 event for those aged 4+, run over a two-mile trip and featuring ten hurdles.

Given its quality the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle 2019 should be an important stepping stone to the Cheltenham Festival and as such it remains one of the most important races on the calendar for horsemen and punters alike.

2001 winner Like-A-Butterfly went on to win the 2002 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle while 2012 champion Jezki ran third in the same race before going on to score in the Champion Hurdle the following season.

The Royal Bond Novice Hurdle 2020 will take place on Sunday November 29th and will be worth a cool €53,000 to the winner.

2020 Royal Bond Novice Hurdle Runners & Favourites

At the penultimate declaration stage, 11 horses are left in the 2020 Royal Bond Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse. Ireland’s top National Hunt stables still have strong representation in the race once again as usual this year, so here are the runners from which the final field will be taken:

  1. Ballyadam (Gordon Elliott, IRE)
  2. Cask Mate (Noel Meade, IRE)
  3. Dewcup (Ted Walsh, IRE)
  4. N’Golo (Willie Mullins, IRE)
  5. One Down (Gordon Elliott, IRE)
  6. The Very Man (Gordon Elliott, IRE)
  7. Annexation (Henry De Bromhead, IRE)*
  8. Jesse Evans (Noel Meade, IRE)*
  9. Concertista (Willie Mullins, IRE)**
  10. Getaway Gorgeous (Willie Mullins, IRE)**
  11. Shewearsitwell (Willie Mullins, IRE)**

* Denotes a four-year-old horse who receives 3lb weight for age from their elders.

** Denotes a mare who receives a 7lb sex allowance if running here, and each of these holds an entry in the Grade 2 Mares Hurdle over an extended 2m 3f at Fairyhouse on Saturday, 28 November.

Royal Bond Novice Hurdle 2020 Tips


As trainer Gordon Elliott has won two of the last three renewals of the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle, Ballyadam enters calculations. Representing the winning connections of 2019, this Cheveley Park Stud owned five-year-old is three from four career starts. After landing a Portrush point to point, he found heavy ground against him on his Rules debut in a Navan bumper but duly showed the benefit of that experience when bouncing back with victory at Downpatrick.

Ballyadam then made the useful bumper performer Colonel Mustard look very ordinary on his hurdles bow on reappearance at Down Royal. Despite not being fluent over the last, he won very easily by 12 lengths. This looks like a horse who will do better over further, but Elliott got Envoi Allen to win this en route to stepping up in trip. Ballyadam could well be the stable’s first string in the 2020 Royal Bond Novice Hurdle and his price with bookmakers will likely reflect that.


Willie Mullins is the most successful trainer in Royal Bond Novice Hurdle history with eight winners, and seven of those have come from 2008 onwards. In N’Golo, he has a Rich and Susannah Ricci owned French import who has won all three starts since joining the stable from France that he has completed. N’Golo has a strong Flat pedigree, by Galileo out of a Danehill mare winning by eight lengths on his debut for Mullins at the Galway Festival.

Although then pulled up at Kilbeggan, he put that display behind him when just prevailing by a head at the Listowel Harvest Festival. Off the back of that effort, connections pitched N’Golo into Grade 3 company at Navan where he won going away conceding weight all-round. That was a big performance, especially as the Champion Bumper fifth Eskylane was held in fifth. N’Golo looks well worth another crack at this level, and his owners have had three winners and two seconds in the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle since 2010.


As the ante post favourite for the Dawn Run Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at the 2021 Cheltenham Festival, big things are expected of the undefeated Shewearsitwell. Another of the possible Mullins mounts in the 2020 Royal Bond Novice Hurdle, this daughter of Shirocco won a Galway Festival bumper on racecourse debut and then went straight over obstacles. She built on success at Sligo on hurdles debut with a Grade 3 victory against the geldings at Tipperary.

Shewearsitwell wasn’t extended at all in scoring by eight lengths there. All of her races have come on a sound surface, and that isn’t the most likely ground she will encounter over the winter. However, any unbeaten horse with an entry in a race like the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle will be of obvious interest to punters. If she takes up her engagement, and can handle probable softer going, then Shewearsitwell may take some stopping as connections have only just scratched the surface with her.


As she still qualifies as a novice, 2020 Dawn Run winner Concertista commands respect if Mullins starts her off in the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle before that status expires. She has had five starts since joining the yard and saved her best for Cheltenham. After running a massive race on stable debut when just denied by a head by Eglantine Du Seuil in 2019, Concertista should have mopped up novice races last season. That isn’t exactly what happened for the Simon Munir and Isaac Souede owned mare, however.

Concertista suffered three defeats on her way back to the Cheltenham Festival, and remained a maiden over hurdles. However, there was major market support in the lead up to the Dawn Run and she was sent off just 9/2. Concertista duly bolted up by 12 lengths. She has big race experience on her side which most other Royal Bond Novice Hurdle runners lack. As Mullins has indicated the Mares’ Hurdle in open company back at Cheltenham is her main target, this could be a nice starting point for Concertista.

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Royal Bond Hurdle Stats & Trends


Is there anything that Royal Bond Novice Hurdle past winners have in common? The only way to find out is to look at the stats and trends relating to this key race at Fairyhouse. Statistics are not the be all and end all, and come with no guarantees, but being aware of them can help you make better decisions when it comes down to who to back. Consider these Royal Bond Novice Hurdle stats and trends:

  • Most successful jockeys – Irish riding greats Paul Carberry and Charlie Swann both got the leg-up on four winners, so share the record. Of active jockeys, Paul Townend has partnered the most Royal Bond Novice Hurdle past winners with three successes. He will probably have a pick of mounts in the race this year, so the market will be shaped by his choice. Danny Mullins, Jack Kennedy and Davy Russell are among others still riding that have won this event before.
  • Most successful trainersWillie Mullins has saddled a record eight winners of the race. Seven of those have come since 2008, and the yard has won four of the last six renewals. The Mullins mounts that tasted victory in the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle include Hurricane Fly and Nichols Canyon. Gordon Elliott, meanwhile, has landed two of the last three runnings thanks to Mengli Khan and Envoi Allen. These are the stables to follow, although both Jessica Harrington and Noel Meade have trained three winners too.
  • Most successful ownersRich and Susannah Ricci have owned three winners and two seconds in the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle over the last decade. That makes him by far the most successful owners. This race has not been lucky for JP McManus, who hasn’t scored in it since Istabraq landed the spoils way back in 1996. That may be why he doesn’t have an entry this year among the 2020 Royal Bond Novice Hurdle runners. Gigginstown House Stud have had three thirds, two second and a winner since 2014, and hold seven early closing entries this time around.
  • Age – Concentrate on younger horses. Four of the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle winners since 2011 have been five-year-olds. As many since 2010 were aged four. Two of the previous four winners have been six, but just three of that age bracket in the race’s history have scored. This is definitely a race which favours youth if you look past the last few years.
  • Favourites – As four of the last five market leaders have obliged, it certainly pays to side with horses prominent in the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle betting. Hurricane Fly back in 2008 is the last favourite to win this race and be returned at an SP bigger than evens.

2019 Royal Bond Novice Hurdle Result

What Happened in 2019?

Envoi Allen extended his undefeated run to seven races and gave trainer Gordon Elliott a second victory in the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle when landing an odds-on starting price of 8/11. Despite being a little on his toes in the preliminaries, this Cheveley Park Stud owned gelding delivered a second Grade 1 and first over the smaller obstacles on just his second start in this sphere. That confirmed all the promise and hype surrounding Envoi Allen, who hurdled better than most of his eight rivals. He also found plenty for pressure under Davy Russell after the second last and stayed on best for a cosy 1½ lengths victory over stable companion and 7/2 second-favourite Abacadabras.

That stands Envoi Allen in good stead for going up in trip in the New Year with Elliott identifying the Lawlor’s of Naas Novice Hurdle over two-and-a-half miles as his next target. Runner-up Abacadabras also looks capable of running big races at this level for jockey Jack Kennedy and Gigginstown House Stud. The front two pulled 2½ lengths of Gavin Cromwell’s 20/1 outsider Darver Star, who outran his odds in third, and had the rest of the field well strung out. If there was one disappointment in this renewal of the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle, then it was Gigginstown’s second string Midnight Run. The 6/1 shot trained by Joseph O’Brien made a bad mistake when short of room and perhaps weakening at the second last, so Rachael Blackmore eased her mount.

Royal Bond Novice Hurdle Winners

Year Winner Age Jockey Trainer Festival Performance
2018 Quick Grabim 6 Ruby Walsh Willie Mullins Did not race
2017 Mengli Khan 4 Jack Kennedy Gordon Elliott 3rd in Supreme Novices’
2016 Airlie Beach 6 Danny Mullins Willie Mullins 14th in Mares’ Novices’
2015 Long Dog 5 Ruby Walsh Willie Mullins Unseated in Albert Bartlett Novices’
2014 Nichols Canyon 4 Paul Townend Willie Mullins 3rd in Barham Bingham Novices’ Hurdle
2013 The Tullow Tank 5 Danny Mullins Philip Fenton Did not race
2012 Jezki 4 Barry Geraghty Jessica Harrington 3rd in Supreme Novices’
2011 Sous les Cieux 5 Ruby Walsh Willie Mullins 5th in Barham Bingham Novices’ Hurdle
2010* Zaidpour 4 Paul Townend Willie Mullins 7th in Supreme Novices’
2009 Dunguib 6 Brian O’Connell Philip Fenton 3rd in Supreme Novices’
2008 Hurricane Fly 4 Paul Townend Willie Mullins Did not race
2007 Muirhead 4 Paul Carberry Noel Meade 12th in Supreme Novices’
2006 Hide The Evidence 5 Andrew Leigh Jessica Harrington 15th in Supreme Novices’
2005 Iktitaf 4 Paul Carberry Noel Meade Did not race
2004 Wild Passion 4 Paul Carberry Noel Meade 2nd in Supreme Novices’
2003 Newmill 5 Garrett Cotter Thomas O’Leary Did not race
2002 Hardy Eustace 5 Kieran Kelly Dessie Hughes 1st in Royal & Sun Alliance
2001 Like-A-Butterfly 7 Charlie Swan Christy Roche 1st in Supreme Novices’
2000 Liss A Paoraigh 5 Charlie Swan John Kiely Did not race

About the Author

 Jamie Clark

Jamie Clark

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.