The Baring Bingham Novices Hurdle, better known under its sponsors title as the the Neptune Investment Management Novices Hurdle, is the premier middle distance novices hurdle in the UK.
Run over 2 miles 5 furlongs it features ten hurdles and gets the action underway on the second day of the Cheltenham Festival.
The Neptune Investment Management Novices Hurdle has launched the careers of some of the biggest hurdles stars in the history of jumps racing, including Istabraq, Hardy Eustace and Faugheen.
Neptune Investment Management Novices Hurdle trends
Meaningful trends in the Neptune Novices' Hurdle are far and few between. Antepost favourites have taken the race twice in the last five years, but couldn't break into the top two in the remaining three.
Neither is the influence of ratings on the race very clear. The top rated horse in the field has won the race twice in the last five years and the only insight those two wins offers is that horses with ratings around the 150 mark are strong contenders, which is a given anyway.
Each of the last five winners finished in the top two in their previous race, an insight that won't do much to narrow down the list of title contenders.
Which all means that each field needs to be assessed entirely on its own merits, with due caution being applied to the favourite selected by the bookies.
2016 Neptune Investment Management Novices Hurdle field
The field for the Neptune Investment Management Novices Hurdle has produced an unusually short odds favourite in Yanworth. He's won four races on the trot this season, including trials for the Neptune Hurdle and Supreme Novices Hurdle. While this winning streak is impressive, it's his large winning margin last time out that has secured him such strong backing. He won at Cheltenham by 7 lengths when asked to run 20.5 furlongs for the first time, and did so over heavy ground.
However, Yanworth isn't the only form horse in the field. Yorkhill heads to Cheltenham on the back of five consecutive wins. This winning streak included a Grade 1 win in the Tolworth Hurdle over 16 furlongs last time out. Like the favourite, he's also won around the 20 furlong mark by a big margin, beating a field of 16 at Punchestown by 8.5 lengths over heavy ground in December. With a rating of 154, he's a good each-way to nothing option at 4/1.
A Toi Phil is third in the betting thanks to a 7 length win in a Grade 2 win last time out. While his recent record is not quite as impressive as the favourites, he looks like he's run himself into comparable form and offers the best antepost price of the top three at 6/1.