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Early Season National Hunt Novices

It’s unusual to see the really big hitters flexing their National Hunt muscles on the racetrack until we reach into the November period, indeed, depending on the ground, sometimes we can be waiting even longer, especially when it comes to some of the major second season hurdlers and chasers. It can also be the case that we don’t see some of the more ‘hyped’ novice hurdlers and chasers until the ‘new season’ is fully under way in November and some of the bigger National Hunt meetings start to appear on the racing calendar.

Some trainers do, however, like to get their youngsters out earlier, searching for a weak contest or two to get a bit of jumping experience into their prospects and to generally smooth off the rough edges prior to the major stars hitting the track.

Plenty can be garnished from a novices’ debut efforts and whilst it may just be the starting point for them it’s always a positive to see a victory on debut, or at the very least some solid signs that the jumping ability is there for the new discipline they are about to tackle in the season ahead.

And, like plenty aspects of this horse racing game, one of the best ‘ways in’ or ‘starting points’ for us punters when it comes to early season National Hunt Novices is to dig into trainer stats, looking for those yards that like to get their charges out nice and early (September – October) and, most importantly, have their novices ready to fire straight off the bat, something which we can turn into a profitable angle or two to help build up the betting bank for the proper National Hunt racing that waits just around the corner.

For this article, unless stated, I’ve looked back at the last ten-years’ worth of data (2013 – 2022) and zoned in on Beginners, Novice and Maiden Hurdlers and Chasers, pinpointing three trainers (plus three bonus trainers) we want on our side in the September and October period… starting with a trainer that, to be honest, you could start most National Hunt based reports with…

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Willie Mullins

Overall September & October Novice Stats

109/326 | 33% S/R | -£23.59 BFLSP – W&P 182/326 | 56% S/R

1% below market expectation.

Plenty of winners from the Master of Closutton, which is absolutely no surprise, but a bit of a hole left in your pocket should you have been backing his Novice runners blind during this period of the season.

The profits come, however, when you split his Novice runners by Chasers and Hurdlers


40/100 | 40% S/R | +£35.57 BFLSP – W&P 57/100 | 57% S/R

30% above market expectation


69/226 | 31% S/R | -£59.16 BFLSP – W&P 125/226 | 55% S/R

13% below market expectation.

Still plenty of winners coming from his Novice Hurdlers, naturally, and you could squeeze a profit if you backed the Willie Mullins runners in Maiden Hurdles that start as the SP Favourite… 41/71 | 58% S/R | +£9.53 BFLSP – W&P 60/71 | 85% S/R… but it’s slim pickings (when it comes to building an angle) so for this article I’m going to concentrate on his runners in Novice and Beginners Chases only.

The bare stats for those Willie Mullins Novice Chasers in September and October are seriously strong as they are, but with two small filters the angle can be made even more robust… those filters being…

Concentrate only on horses with no more than 16 career starts.


Concentrate on those horses that start at an SP of shorter than 6/1

Adding those two filters into the Novice Chaser mix gives the following angle…

System 92: JO-106-92-09-23-BA: Willie Mullins September & October Novice Chasers | 16 or less career starts | SP less than 6/1

37/70 | 53% S/R | +£49.53 BFLSP – W&P 45/70 | 64% S/R

46% above market expectation

Willie Mullins likes to cover plenty of different tracks up and down Ireland within that angle, although two tracks in particular do catch the eye…

Listowel – 10/16, 1p | +£9.57

Tipperary – 8/12, 2p | +£15.76

Note from the editing team: We are aware that trying to back horses where we are relying on SP’s can be challenging, so we thought we’d take a close look at the Listowel/Tipperary angle to see if there was a possibility of backing the Willie Mullins runners without a price criterion and still turn a profit…

And here is what we found:

A greater than 50% strike rate and a profit over the 10 year period of 20.59 SP and 27.40 BFSP.

Modest gains admittedly year on year with three years giving us a break even but we feel it is worth following in a portfolio approach so we will add this as a system to follow and report back after the end of October.

System 93: JO-106-93-09-23-BA: Willie Mullins September & October Novice Chasers | 16 or less career starts | when running at Listowel or Tipperary.

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