Those who follow the hurdling racing scene will know that the Fighting Fifth Hurdle is a major race of the Pre-Festival build up. The race is a part of the Triple Crown of hurdling, and will see one of the greats compete in the race, along with a host of other contenders.
Originally classed as a Grade 2 race, the Fighting Fifth Hurdle was elevated to Grade 1 status by the Jump Pattern Committee in 2004. The two-mile race is held at Newcastle over nine hurdles, and is open to horses aged four or older.
The Fighting Fifth has produced a number of notable winners throughout the history of the race. Some of the most memorable horses include Comedy of Errors, which won three years in a row between 1972 and 1974. The French Furze was a tenacious competitor who won by three quarters of a length in 2003. In 2001, he was beaten by nine lengths to Landing Light. In addition, Night Nurse won the Champion Hurdle twice.
Another significant winner was the late 1990s horse Kribensis. He won the Fighting Fifth and the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in 1990. Earlier, he won the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
Nicky Henderson is the most successful trainer in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle's history. He won it seven times, including with Punjabi in 2008. He also trained My Tent Or Yours and Landing Light, which both won the Grade 1 race in 2013.
He also saddled Irving, which won the Fighting Fifth and the Champion Hurdle in 2016. His most recent winner was Go Native, who won the race at 25-1.
A number of horses have placed in the Fighting Fifth in recent years. Harchibald was a winner twice in the 2000s, while Inglis Drever won three World Hurdles at Cheltenham.
Another runner to try to break the Henderson duo's winning streak is Hughie Morrison's Not So Sleepy. He has won the Fighting Fifth twice in the last six years. However, his biggest danger is Ann Hamilton's Tommy's Oscar. He has won the Fighting Fifth and the Champion Hurdle twice, but he failed to win the World Hurdle at the 2010 Cheltenham Festival.
Fighting Fifth Hurdle betting will be available once the field is confirmed. It is one of Britain's richest steeplechases, and is the first G1 hurdle race of the NH season. There is a minimum weight of 11st-7lbs for males and 11 stones for females.
Originally held as a Grade Two contest, the Betfair Fighting Fifth Hurdle was elevated to Grade One in 2004. The race is held at Cheltenham's Champion Hurdle meeting, and is open to horses aged four and over. The race features nine hurdles over two miles. It is open to both sexes, and requires a minimum weight of 11st 7lbs for males and 11st 5lbs for females.
It is the first major hurdling event of the season, and is held over two miles. It is the first leg of the Triple Crown of Hurdling, and only one horse has ever won the competition.
It was the first race of the season to feature a Grade One, and there have been three winners in the last five years. The last winner to win the race and also win the Champion Hurdle was Punjabi in 2008. There has been one female winner and one male winner in the past five years, and two females and three males in the last nine years.
There have been a couple of upsets in the past. Epatante won the race two years ago, after dead-heating with Not So Sleepy. The French Furze won the race by three-quarters of a length in 2003. He placed second three years ago, after being given 25-1 odds.
There has been a huge amount of hype surrounding Constitution Hill. It was due to run in the Coral Hurdle at Ascot, but the ground was too quick. Now it is set to make its seasonal return at Newcastle. It should be on a softer track, and Nicky Henderson has confirmed that he will run his stable star in the Betfair Fighting Fifth Hurdle.
One of the most popular entries in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle is Tommy's Oscar. He is a locally trained horse, and punched above his weight in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham. He has also won a Grade 3 over two miles at Naas.
There are a total of 17 entries for the Betfair Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle on November 28. Epatante and Constitution Hill are set to go head-to-head in the main event. Tommy's Oscar and Voix Du Reve complete the field.
Among the top hurdle races in the world, the Fighting Fifth Hurdle is a Grade One race over two miles on the left-handed jumping turf track at Newcastle Racecourse. The winner goes on to contest the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March.
Three of the top four Triple Crown performances have come from European jumps horses. The first of those to win two of the three races was Ladas (1894), and the last was Nijinsky in 1970. The Champion Hurdle requires participants to cover two miles, jumping 12 hurdles.
In the past few years, two horses have achieved the feat. Go Native, which won the Fighting Fifth Hurdle and the Christmas Hurdle, and Threeunderthrufive, which won both the Fighting Fifth and the Champion Hurdle, are the latest to achieve the feat.
Go Native, a seven-year-old son of Cooldine, has been owned by Eamon Doyle and his Galway based syndicate. His work rider described it as "driving a Ferrari." The Galway businessmen have the opportunity to receive a EUR1 million bonus if the horse wins the WBX Hurdling Triple Crown.
Go Native is the first horse owned by the Docado syndicate, a well-known group of Galway businessmen. He was backed in from a low of 3.8/1 prior to the Champion Hurdle and would have been the first to win the WBX bonus.
Go Native was ridden by Paul Carberry, and is likely to be ridden by him again on St Stephen's Day when the second leg of the Champion Hurdle is run at Kempton. He would have won the WBX Hurdling Triple Crown if he had won the Fighting Fifth Hurdle.
Threeunderthrufive is trained by Adrian Heskin, and is likely to be ridden by David Pipe. The McNeill family have been trying to win the Newbury feature since the early days, and they have a big chance of doing so.
In 2004, the Fighting Fifth Hurdle was promoted to Grade 1 status. The Jump Pattern Committee decided to elevate it to this level. It is now a top class race, and is scheduled to take place on Saturday, November 26th, 2022.
OLBG Racing Tipsters are back in the pre-festival build-up for the Cheltenham Festival, predicting winners for the various races. The Fighting Fifth Hurdle will be the first Grade 1 hurdle race of the jumps racing season. The field is expected to include some of the leading stayers in the country.
Constitution Hill, the winner of the Grade One Fighting Fifth Hurdle last season, could make an impressive return to action in the feature. The lightly raced gelding could run the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton Park on January 2nd, three days earlier than he originally planned. This could allow him to have a shot at the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham, which he won last season.
Epatante has been in great form so far this season and has been backed at 2-1. This is a runner who can go to Cheltenham with a chance of a hat-trick, so you would have to be a little careful with your back if you go 2-1 on her.
The last time these two met was in last season's Fighting Fifth Hurdle, but Constitution Hill was withdrawn from the Coral Hurdle because of unsuitable ground. The horse has since made a "ridiculous" return to action at Newcastle, and will be backed in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.
Constitution Hill was unbeaten in his first season over jumps, and he hasn't been beaten since. His form is excellent and he could have a good gallop in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham. He could even run in the Matheson Hurdle at Leopardstown on 29 December.
Nico de Boinville is another runner who has been in good form this season. He has had a great run in the Grade One Warwick Chase recently, and he will have a chance of a hat-trick if he wins the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle. His form is excellent and he looks a great option to win the Champion Hurdle in 2023.
The OLBG Racing Tipsters have also backed Paul Townend in the build-up to the Cheltenham Festival. He has won three races this season, including the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton.