Calipto and Activial joint-favourites as 32 go forward for Betfair Hurdle

 

Calipto and ActivialAnte-post favourite Calipto headlines 32 six-day acceptors for the £155,000 Grade Three Betfair Hurdle at Newbury on Betfair Super Saturday, February 7.

Calipto has not run since finishing runner-up at Cheltenham in October and is out to give champion trainer Paul Nicholls a second victory in the extended two-mile contest. The Somerset handler took the spoils with Zarkandar in 2012.

Calipto is the 7/1 joint-favourite with Betfair Sportsbook along with the Harry Fry-trained Activial, who was a Grade Two scorer last season and took third in the Ladbroke Hurdle at Ascot on his comeback in December. Fry is also likely to be represented by Grade One Tolworth Hurdle runner-up Jolly’s Cracked It (14/1).

Dan Skelton has left in progressive seven-year-old Fascino Rustico (12/1), who is unbeaten in two starts for the Warwickshire handler.

Sign Of A Victory (12/1) is set to carry top-weight for Nicky Henderson, who is the most successful trainer in Betfair Hurdle history with five triumphs. Henderson is also intending to run Haydock Park scorer Vasco Du Ronceray (25/1) and has also left in Dawalan (20/1), successful at Musselburgh on Sunday, and Snake Eyes (12/1), who has bottom weight of 10st 5lb. A maximum field of 24 can take part.

Venetia Williams has confirmed Aso (16/1) and Baradari (16/1). Aso took a Grade Two novice event at Haydock Park on January 17, while Baradari got up on the line to land the Grade Two Holloways Handicap Hurdle at Ascot on the same afternoon.

Grand National-winning trainer Dr Richard Newland is looking to saddle Ebony Express (20/1). The Flat recruit scored impressively on his first two starts over hurdles, taking a pair of novices’ hurdles at Carlisle by eight lengths and three and a quarter lengths respectively.

However, the six-year-old will need to bounce back from a below par run at Catterick on January 8, when he came home sixth in a two-mile three-furlong novices’ hurdle.

Newland, who sent out 2007 runner-up Overstrand, said today: “Ebony Express is an intended runner on Saturday.

“He definitely wasn’t right at Catterick as he came back coughing. There’s a chance this race might come a week or two too soon for him but we will see.

“He has been working well though and seems in good form, so we are looking forward to it.”

Ireland’s champion trainer Willie Mullins has three going forward, including Wicklow Brave (20/1),while David Pipe is relying solely on Sandown Park runner-up Balgarry (14/1).

Other notables include Seedling (16/1, Warren Greatrex), who is unbeaten in three starts over hurdles this term, and eye-catching Haydock Park scorer On Tour (16/1, Evan Williams).

Betfair Spokesman Barry Orr commented today: “The Paul Nicholls-trained Calipto still heads our market at 7/1, so we have significant liabilities on the Ditcheat inmate but he’s not the only horse punters are keen on.

“Two of Nicholls protégés, Dan Skelton and Harry Fry, supply well-supported opposition to their old boss in the form of Fascino Rustico and Activial.

“Following his Newcastle win, Fascino Rustico has been very strong at 12/1 and the Fry-trained Activial has been punted from 14/1 into 7/1 joint-favourite, so it’s a typically competitive renewal of the UK’s richest handicap hurdle.”

 Betfair Hurdle – Betfair Sportsbook prices:

7/1 Activial, Calipto, 12/1 Fascino Rustico, Sign Of A Victory, Snake Eyes, 14/1 Balgarry, Jollys Cracked It, Pine Creek, 16/1 Aso, Baradari, Chieftains Choice, Daneking, On Tour, Seedling, 20/1 Dawalan, Ebony Express, Goodwood Mirage, Lucky Bridle, Wicklow Brave, 25/1 Amore Alato, Arzal, Ballyboley, Cheltenian, Hawk High, Laser Hawk, Lightentertainment, Vasco Du Ronceray, 33/1 Bordoni, Forced Family Fun, Sleepy Haven, Swing Bowler, Violet Dancer

Each-Way Terms: 1/4 Odds, 1-2-3-4

The Betfair Hurdle

Class 1, Grade 3, £155,000 Total Prize Fund. 3.35pm, Newbury, Saturday, February 7, 2015. For four-year-olds and upwards, two miles and half a furlong. Penalties: after January 11, a winner of a hurdle race 5lb; of two hurdle races 8lb. Entries closed January 6, entries revealed January 7 (65 entries), weights revealed January 14. Scratchings deadline January 20 (46 go forward), five-day confirmation stage February 2 (32 confirmations), final declaration stage 10.00am, February 5.

Horse

Age

Wgt Owner Trainer
SIGN OF A VICTORY (IRE)

6

11-12 Matt & Lauren Morgan Nicky Henderson
DAWALAN (FR)

5

11-10 (5lb ex) Simon Munir & Isaac Souede Nicky Henderson
HAWK HIGH (IRE)

5

11-09 Trevor Hemmings Tim Easterby
SEEDLING

6

11-07 Equis & Christopher Spence Warren Greatrex
PINE CREEK

7

11-07 Bloomfields John Ferguson
VASCO DU RONCERAY (FR)

6

11-06 Simon Munir & Isaac Souede Nicky Henderson
CALIPTO (FR)

5

11-06 Chris Giles & Ian Fogg Paul Nicholls
ACTIVIAL (FR)

5

11-06 Potensis Bloodstock Limited Harry Fry
ASO (FR)

5

11-06 (5lb ex) The Bellamy Partnership Venetia Williams
LUCKY BRIDLE (IRE)

6

11-05 Andrea & Graham Wylie Willie Mullins IRE
GOODWOOD MIRAGE (IRE)

5

11-05 Lady Bamford & Alice Bamford Jonjo O’Neill
SLEEPY HAVEN (IRE)

5

11-05 Alan Baxter Anthony Bloor Dave Cheetham Jennie Candlish
CHELTENIAN (FR)

9

11-04 Roger Brookhouse Philip Hobbs
JOLLY’S CRACKED IT (FR)

6

11-03 GDM Partnership Harry Fry
AMORE ALATO

6

11-03 Sarah Faulks Nick Williams
WICKLOW BRAVE

6

11-03 Wicklow Bloodstock Limited Willie Mullins IRE
ARZAL (FR)

5

11-02 The Hennessy Six Harry Whittington
BORDONI (USA)

6

11-01 Bloomfields John Ferguson
BARADARI (IRE)

5

11-01 (5lb ex) A Brooks Venetia Williams
DANEKING

6

11-01 Susannah Ricci Willie Mullins IRE
ON TOUR (IRE)

7

11-01 T Hywel Jones Evan Williams
BALGARRY (FR)

8

11-00 Brocade Racing David Pipe
LASER HAWK (IRE)

8

10-12 W J Evans Evan Williams
SWING BOWLER

8

10-12 K Alexander David Pipe
FASCINO RUSTICO

7

10-12 (5lb ex) John Hales Dan Skelton
CHIEFTAIN’S CHOICE (IRE)

6

10-11 Carl Hinchy John Quinn
FORCED FAMILY FUN

5

10-11 The Top Silk Syndicate John Quinn
EBONY EXPRESS

6

10-11 ValueRacingClub.co.uk Dr Richard Newland
VIOLET DANCER

5

10-09 D Bessell & Galloping On The South Downs Gary Moore
BALLYBOLLEY (IRE)

6

10-08 Simon Munir & Isaac Souede Nigel Twiston-Davies
LIGHTENTERTAINMENT (IRE)

7

10-08 (5lb ex) The Not Over Big Partnership Chris Gordon
SNAKE EYES (IRE)

7

10-05 J P McManus Nicky Henderson

32 five-day confirmations

3 Irish-trained

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