Previously called the Neptune Novices’ Hurdle, this is the first race on the second day at the Cheltenham Festival. The race with ten hurdles, is run on the Old Course, over 4255 metres (around 2 miles and 5 furlongs) and is open to horses over four years of age who are novice hurdlers. The race is named after the property developer, Baring Bingham, who bought Prestbury Park in 1898, before organising the very first Cheltenham Race Festival shortly after this. Also previously named the Aldsworth Hurdle in 1971, then the Sun Alliance Novices’ Hurdle in 1974, it has been registered under its current sponsored name since 2007.
The race is run left-handed and with ten hurdles, poses quite a challenge for the novice riders if they hope to emerge in first place. The 2017 race winner was Willoughby Court, with rider David Bass. His winnings amounted to £68340, for his first victory in this race.
The Baring Bingham Novices’ Hurdle has only been cancelled once in its history, since 1971, when an outbreak of Foot-and-Mouth disease caused the disruption of the entire Cheltenham Festival in 2001. The race currently attracts strong contenders, with several National Hunt racehorses using it as a stepping stone to further championship races.