Dovecote Novices' Hurdle Odds

Nicky Henderson has a staggering record in the Dovecote Novices' Hurdle.
Nicky Henderson has a staggering record in the Dovecote Novices' Hurdle.

The betting for the Dovecote Novices' Hurdle is always intriguing as they can often be some late market moves for some exciting, emerging novice hurdlers in Kempton's Grade 2 contest. The 2020 Dovecote Novices' Hurdle odds will be available here in the days leading up to the race.

Dovecote Novices' Hurdle Tips

With the strength of the form coming into this looking relatively hard to gauge, it could be worth siding with the Chris Gordon-trained Highway One O Two. Admittedly, this is a big step up in class from the races he's been contesting so far, but he looks to have considerable talent judged on two emphatic wins in minor company at Plumpton so far, and there could be plenty more to come from him yet.

What is the Dovecote Novices' Hurdle?

The Dovecote Novices' Hurdle is a Grade 2 race run at Kempton Park over two miles and it will see eight flights of hurdles jumped in total. Open to horses aged four years and over, the Dovecote takes place in February, and can be a race that is used as a trial for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle a month later at the Cheltenham Festival.

Often a real speed test, this race is hotly contested by all the leading trainers with horses that hold aspirations of going on to bigger and better things over hurdles and fences, and while the Supreme Novices' Hurdle is the ultimate target for runners in this race, it can be used as a platform for potential star chasers of the future as well.

What happened in the 2020 Dovecote Novices' Hurdle?

Nicky Henderson was bidding for another success in the Dovecote Novices' Hurdle in the 2020 renewal, but the Seven Barrows handler had to watch his charge Buzz disappoint in the Grade 2 contest and it was the Chris Gordon-trained Highway One O Two that produced a fine front-running display to claim victory in fine style.

Sent to the front from the flag fall by Tom Cannon, the 4/1 shot travelled sweetly through the race and while Dan Skelton's West Cork looked to bridge the gap in the closing stages, Highway One O Two kept galloping in fine fashion and went on to win by four-and-three-quarter lengths with West Cork in second and Commando Kid finishing in third spot.

The history of the Dovecote Novices' Hurdle

Established in 1988, the Dovecote Novices' Hurdle was first given the title of a Listed event, but a few years later in 1991 it was boosted to Grade 2 status, and is now widely regarded as one of the final trial races before the Cheltenham Festival a month later.

With the race being run over two miles then it's the Supreme Novices' Hurdle that is the ultimate target for those horses lining up in the Dovecote, but it can also help develop and offer experience to those horses just short of a bit of speed, and some contenders will use this race as a stepping stone to the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle at the festival.

A race won in 2011 by Sire De Grugy just shows that future stars can emerge from the race, as the Gary Moore-trained raider went on to be victorious in the Queen Mother Champion Chase later in his career.

Who is the most iconic winner of the Dovecote Novices' Hurdle?

Nicky Henderson's Flown won the race in 1992 and went on to win the Supreme Novices' Hurdle the same season, but it was a year later that saw the most iconic winner. Martin Pipe's Granville Again - ridden by Peter Scudamore - claimed victory in the 1991 Dovecote Novices' Hurdle and the classy gelding then progressed into a star hurdler and his career highlight came at the 1993 Cheltenham Festival where he won the Champion Hurdle for the Pond House team.

Are there any trials for the Dovecote Novices' Hurdle?

With the novice hurdling division having an array of races throughout the season then it's hard to single out a trial race for the Dovecote at Kempton. A trial race for the Supreme in its own right, the Dovecote can see a host of horses with completely different profiles lining up.

Some horses could have run in a few Supreme trials during the season, or some could head to Kempton on the back of a maiden hurdle success. So, while it's a race targeted by trainers in the lead-up to the Cheltenham Festival, it's a race that often throws up clues for spring targets and in that case it sits more solidly as a trial itself.

Who is the most successful jockey in the Dovecote Novices' Hurdle?

Two jockeys sit on three wins in the race and the first one is Robert Thornton, who is now retired, but during his career tasted success on three occasions. Senorita Rumbelita (2006) was his first winner in the race, while Trenchant (2009) and Grumeti (2012) were also winners for Thornton. More recently, Barry Geraghty has been the man to follow winning the race in 2013 on board Forgotten Voice. Back in the winner's enclosure in 2015 with Days of  Heaven, Geraghty retained his crown in 2016 by piloting Winter Escape to victory.

Who is the most successful trainer in the Dovecote Novices' Hurdle?

One man has dominated this race from a trainer perspective and that is the legendary Nicky Henderson. Having saddled Over The Counter to victory in the 1988 Dovecote, the master of Seven Barrows has trained the winner a further seven times with Flown (1992), Kimanicky (1996), Premier Generation (1999), Shatabdi (2007), Forgotten Voice (2013), Days Of Heaven (2015) and River Wylde (2017) his other winners in the race.

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