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Fighting Fifth Hurdle

Grade 1 race
Fighting Fifth Hurdle
Location Newcastle Racecourse
Newcastle, England
Inaugurated 1969
Race type Hurdle race
Sponsor WBX
Website Newcastle
Race information
Distance 2 miles (3,219 metres)
Track Turf, left-handed
Qualification Four-years-old and up
Weight 11 st 7 lb
7 lb for fillies and mares
Purse £100,000 (2009)
1st: £56,330

The Fighting Fifth Hurdle is a Grade 1 National Hunt hurdle race in Great Britain which is open to horses aged four years or older. It is run at Newcastle over a distance of about 2 miles (3,219 metres), and during its running there are nine hurdles to be jumped. The race is scheduled to take place each year in late November or early December and is managed by Northern Racing Ltd.[1]



The event was established in 1969, and the inaugural running was won by Mugatpura. Its title refers to the "Fighting Fifth", the nickname of the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers. In the year prior to the race's launch, the regiment (formerly known as the 5th Regiment of Foot) was amalgamated with three others to form the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.

There were two triple winners of the Fighting Fifth Hurdle during the 1970s: Comedy of Errors and Bird's Nest. The latter also finished first in 1980 but after a stewards' inquiry he was relegated to second place behind Sea Pigeon.

The Fighting Fifth Hurdle was formerly classed at Grade 2 level, and for a brief spell in the 1990s it was run as a limited handicap. Its past sponsors have included Bellway Homes, Newcastle Building Society and Pertemps. It was promoted to Grade 1 status in 2004, and it is now the first top-grade hurdle race of the British National Hunt season.

The betting exchange WBX took over the sponsorship in 2006, and since then the race has served as the first leg of the Triple Crown of Hurdling. This offers a prize of £1,000,000 to any horse which wins the Fighting Fifth Hurdle, the Christmas Hurdle and the Champion Hurdle in the same season. [2][3] Jim Allen, Head of Racing Development for Northern Racing, was quoted as saying that the race has become one of the best Jump races in the North of England since WBX began sponsoring the race. Newcastle Clerk James Armstrong followed by noting that since the establishment of the Triple Crown of Hurdling bonus, the field sizes have grown and the quality of runners has increased dramatically.[4]


Most successful horse (3 wins):

  • Bird's Nest – 1976, 1977, 1979

Leading jockey (2 wins):

  • Bill Smith – Comedy of Errors (1972, 1973)
  • Andrew Turnell – Bird's Nest (1977, 1979)
  • Richard Guest – Beech Road (1990), Padre Mio (1995)
  • Lorcan Wyer – Dato Star (1998, 1999)

Leading trainer (4 wins):

  • Fred Rimell – Inishmaan (1970), Comedy of Errors (1972, 1973, 1974)







1969 Mugatpura 6 Willie Robinson Fulke Walwyn
1970 Inishmaan 4 Terry Biddlecombe Fred Rimell
1971 Dondieu 6 Brian Fletcher Denys Smith
1972 Comedy of Errors 5 Bill Smith Fred Rimell
1973 Comedy of Errors 6 Bill Smith Fred Rimell
1974 Comedy of Errors 7 Ken White Fred Rimell
1975 Night Nurse 4 Paddy Broderick Peter Easterby
1976 Bird's Nest 6 Steve Knight Bob Turnell
1977 Bird's Nest 7 Andrew Turnell Bob Turnell
1978 Sea Pigeon 8 Ian Watkinson Peter Easterby
1979 Bird's Nest 9 Andrew Turnell Bob Turnell
1980 Sea Pigeon [1] 10 Alan Brown Peter Easterby
1981 Ekbalco 5 David Goulding Roger Fisher
1982 Donegal Prince 6 Phil Tuck Paul Kelleway
1983 Gaye Brief 6 Sam Morshead Mercy Rimell
1984 Browne's Gazette 6 Dermot Browne Monica Dickinson
1985 Out of the Gloom 4 Jonjo O'Neill Reg Hollinshead
1986 Tom Sharp 6 S. J. O'Neill Walter Wharton
1987 Floyd 7 Colin Brown David Elsworth
1988 Floyd 8 Simon Sherwood David Elsworth
1989 Kribensis 5 Mark Dwyer Michael Stoute
1990 Beech Road 8 Richard Guest Toby Balding
1991 Royal Derbi 6 Chris Grant Neville Callaghan
1992 Halkopous 6 Steve Smith Eccles Mark Tompkins
1993 no race 1993 [2]
1994 Batabanoo 5 Peter Niven Mary Reveley
1995 Padre Mio 7 Richard Guest Charlie Brooks
1996 Space Trucker 5 John Shortt Jessica Harrington
1997 Star Rage 7 Dean Gallagher Mark Johnston
1998 Dato Star 7 Lorcan Wyer Malcolm Jefferson
1999 Dato Star 8 Lorcan Wyer Malcolm Jefferson
2000 Barton 7 Tony Dobbin Tim Easterby
2001 Landing Light 6 John Kavanagh Nicky Henderson
2002 Intersky Falcon 5 Liam Cooper Jonjo O'Neill
2003 The French Furze 9 Brian Harding Nicky Richards
2004 Harchibald 5 Paul Carberry Noel Meade
2005 Arcalis 5 Tony Dobbin Howard Johnson
2006 Straw Bear 5 Tony McCoy Nick Gifford
2007 Harchibald 8 Paul Carberry Noel Meade
2008 Punjabi [3] 5 Barry Geraghty Nicky Henderson
2009 Go Native 6 Davy Condon Noel Meade

1 Bird's Nest finished first in 1980, but he was relegated to second place after a stewards' inquiry.
2 The 1993 running was abandoned because of fog.
3 The 2008 edition was held at Wetherby over 2 miles and 110 yards.


  • Ladbrokes Pocket Companion 1990/91. Aesculus Press. 1990. p. 43. ISBN 1-871093-21-X. 

See also


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