The opening race on Day Two of the annual Cheltenham Festival is registered as the Baring Bingham Novices’ Hurdle, in honour of the creator of the original Festival. However, it has been known under a variety of different names over the years due to sponsorship.

Currently the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle, this race began life known as the Aldsworth Hurdle in 1971. From 1974 until 2006 the race came under the guise of the Sun Alliance Novices Hurdle due to sponsorship from Sun Alliance (which was later Royal & Sun Alliance).

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Ballymore Properties took over sponsorship for the following three years and in 2010 today’s sponsors Neptune Investment Management first offered their support.

Race information

The Neptune Investment Hurdle takes place on the left-handed, turf-surfaced Old Course at Cheltenham over a distance of 4,225 metres or 2 miles, 5 furlongs.

Horses are required to jump ten hurdles and can enter from four-years-old and upwards. The weight carried is set at 10st 12lb for any four-year olds and 11st 7lb for five-year olds and above, with a 7lb allowance for mares and fillies.

The total prize pot in the 2014 running was £120,000, with winning team Faugheen, Ruby Walsh and Willie Mullins taking £68,340 of that.

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Race records

No single horse has managed to achieve victory here more than once, although several winners have gone on to bigger and brighter things at the Festival including Faugheen (Champion Hurdle 2015) and Simonsig (Arkle Challenge Trophy 2013).

The record for leading jockey is shared by Charlie Swan and Ruby Walsh with three wins apiece. Swan was victorious on Danoli in 1994, on Urubande in 1996 and Istabraq in 1997, while Walsh took first place on Fiveorthree in 2008, Mikael d’Haguenet in 2009 and Faugheen in 2014.

Trainer Willie Mullins has three wins under his belt thanks to Ruby Walsh, although he shares the top spot in this race with Nigel Twiston-Davies, who also has three wins with Gaelstrom in 1993, Fundamentalist in 2004 and The New One in 2013.

Race statistics and trends

  • The fastest winning race time was set by Monsignor in 2000 when he completed the race in 4 minutes and 52 seconds
  • The winner with the longest starting price was Even Dawn in 1972, with odds of 40/1
  • Since 1996, all but one of the winning horses have been five or six-years-old
  • 29 of the last 30 winners of the Baring Bingham had previously come first or second in their last time out
  • Irish trained horses tend to do well here, claiming 7 out of the last 13 winners

Getting Day Two of the Cheltenham Festival off to a flying start, the Neptune Investment Hurdle is an exhilarating race for novice horses aged four and above, ready to make a big impact on the prestigious Cheltenham racecourse.

The opening race on Day Two of the annual Cheltenham Festival is registered as the Baring Bingham Novices’ Hurdle, in honour of the creator of the original Festival. However, it has been known under a variety of different names over the years due to sponsorship.