Weights revealed for Newbury’s Betfair Hurdle – Britain’s richest handicap hurdle

The weights are revealed today for Britain’s richest handicap hurdle, the £155,000 Grade Three Betfair Hurdle, which is staged at Newbury on Betfair Super Saturday, Saturday, February 7.

Snake Eyes (9st 8lb) is one of three 12/1 co second favourites in the ante-post market with Betfair Sportsbook but his supporters will have an anxious wait to see if he makes the cut.

Owned by J P McManus, the lightly-raced seven-year-old is 57th in the weights for the Betfair Hurdle. There is a maximum permitted field of 24 for the extended two-mile contest. Snake Eyes won for the first time when taking a Listed handicap hurdle under A P (Tony) McCoy at Sandown on December 6.

Nicky Henderson, trainer of Snake Eyes, has nine entries in total. The pick of the remainder include Grade One Christmas Hurdle fourth Sign Of A Victory (11st 1lb – 14/1), plus Vasco Du Ronceray (10st 9lb – 20/1), an impressive winner at Haydock in November, exciting juvenile Top Notch (10st – 16/1) and Dawalan (10st 8lb – 20/1), last seen out when successful at Aintree in December.

Harry Whittington, based at Sparsholt Firs close to Wantage, previously operated a satellite yard for Nicky Henderson before taking out his own training licence in September, 2012.

Whittington is considering the Betfair Hurdle for the exciting Arzal (10st 5lb – 25/1). The French import finished second in a maiden hurdle on his British debut at Chepstow in November and later in the same month upset 2/9 favourite West Wizard when recording an impressive seven-length victory in a novices’ hurdle at Kempton Park. The five-year-old was last seen out at the same venue on Boxing Day when beaten just over nine lengths in third behind the well-regarded Jollyallan.

Whittington reported: “The Betfair Hurdle is an option for Arzal. It has been a good race for novices in the past.

“We are just trying to settle him better at home as he has been a bit exuberant in his races so far and is still a big baby.

The Racecourse Newbury, 08-02-14.

“If we can get him to switch off, we might take our chance in the Betfair Hurdle. We just need to get him to settle better and grow up a bit.

“He showed his exuberance last time at Kempton but it was still a cracking run.

“To give ourselves a chance in a big handicap like the Betfair Hurdle, you do need a horse to settle so you can be where you need to be. It could be that 10st 5lb is a nice weight to carry.”

Champion British Jump trainer Paul Nicholls, successful two years ago with Zarkandar, has two leading contenders in Calipto (10st 9lb – 10/1 favourite), who is unbeaten at Newbury (pictured above) and the useful novice Emerging Talent (10st 2lb – 14/1).

Betfair spokesman Barry Orr commented this morning: “A growing liability on the Paul Nicholls-trained Calipto has resulted in his price contracting from 14/1 to 10/1 clear favourite, while we have pushed Snake Eyes out to 12/1.

“It is already a decent betting contest and another entry attracting ante-post support is the John Quinn-trained Chieftains Choice (10st) – we’ve seen some clever money for him at 25/1, he’s now 16/1.’’

Heading the weights on 11st 12lb is the Willie Mullins-trained Diakali (14/1). A Grade One winner in France in 2013, the six-year-old was last seen out when fourth in the French Champion Hurdle in June. Mullins, Ireland’s champion Jump trainer, is also responsible for Arctic Fire (11st 7lb – 12/1), third in the Grade One Ryanair Hurdle at Leopardstown over Christmas. Mullins, who also has nine entries in total, could also run Daneking (10st 4lb – 14/1), successful in a valuable handicap hurdle at Fairyhouse in April and Clondaw Warrior (9st 7lb – 14/1), who took fourth behind the Philip Hobbs-trained Garde Le Victoire (11st 6b – 16/1) in the Grade Three Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham in November.

Fascino Rustico (9st 10lb – 12/1) is co-second favourite with the sponsor but is another who faces a close call to make the cut as he lies 56th on the list. The seven-year-old, owned by John Hales and trained by Dan Skelton, was an eye-catching winner in novice company at Bangor on January 6.

Other leading contenders include Pine Creek (10st 10lb – 16/1) and Activial (10st 9lb – 14/1), who finished second and third respectively in the Ladbroke Handicap Hurdle at Ascot. Harry Fry, trainer of Activial, could also run Jolly’s Cracked It (10st 6lb – 14/1), who was runner-up in the Grade One Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown on January 3.

There is a scratchings stage for the Betfair Hurdle on January 20.

Newbury’s Betfair Super Saturday also features the £50,000 Grade Two Betfair Denman Chase, a leading trial for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, and the £50,000 Grade Two Betfair Price Rush Chase over two miles and a furlong.

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. Entries closed January 6, entries revealed January 7 (65 entries), weights revealed January 14. Scratchings deadline January 20, five-day confirmation stage February 2, final declaration stage 10.00am, February 5.

 

Horse

Age

Wgt Owner Trainer
DIAKALI (FR)

6

11-12 Wicklow Bloodstock Limited Willie Mullins IRE
ARCTIC FIRE (GER)

6

11-07 Wicklow Bloodstock Limited Willie Mullins IRE
GARDE LA VICTOIRE (FR)

6

11-06 Diana Whateley Philip Hobbs
GET ME OUT OF HERE (IRE)

11

11-03 J P McManus Jonjo O’Neill
BERTIMONT (FR)

5

11-01 Christopher Giles Dan Skelton
SIGN OF A VICTORY (IRE)

6

11-01 Matt & Lauren Morgan Nicky Henderson
ROLLING STAR (FR)

6

11-00 Michael Buckley & The Vestey Family Nicky Henderson
HAWK HIGH (IRE)

5

10-12 Trevor Hemmings Tim Easterby
SEA LORD (IRE)

8

10-12 Bloomfields John Ferguson
ANALIFET (FR)

5

10-11 Gigginstown House Stud Willie Mullins IRE
CINDERS AND ASHES

8

10-11 Dermot Hanafin & Phil Cunningham Donald McCain
SEEDLING

6

10-10 Equis & Christopher Spence Warren Greatrex
PINE CREEK

7

10-10 Bloomfields John Ferguson
HAMMERSLY LAKE (FR)

7

10-10 Michael Buckley Nicky Henderson
VASCO DU RONCERAY (FR)

6

10-09 Simon Munir & Isaac Souede Nicky Henderson
CALIPTO (FR)

5

10-09 Chris Giles & Ian Fogg Paul Nicholls
ACTIVIAL (FR)

5

10-09 Potensis Bloodstock Limited Harry Fry
LUCKY BRIDLE (IRE)

6

10-08 Andrea & Graham Wylie Willie Mullins IRE
DAWALAN (FR)

5

10-08 Simon Munir & Isaac Souede Nicky Henderson
GOODWOOD MIRAGE (IRE)

5

10-08 Lady Bamford & Alice Bamford Jonjo O’Neill
ROYAL IRISH HUSSAR (IRE)

5

10-08 Triermore Stud Nicky Henderson
SLEEPY HAVEN (IRE)

5

10-08 Alan Baxter Anthony Bloor Dave Cheetham Jennie Candlish
CHELTENIAN (FR)

9

10-07 Roger Brookhouse Philip Hobbs
BALLYGLASHEEN (IRE)

5

10-07 R J Gambarini Evan Williams
JOLLY’S CRACKED IT (FR)

6

10-06 GDM Partnership Harry Fry
STARLUCK (IRE)

10

10-06 Andrew Wates David Arbuthnot
ROCK THE WORLD (IRE)

7

10-06 Michael Buckley Jessica Harrington IRE
AMORE ALATO

6

10-06 Sarah Faulks Nick Williams
WICKLOW BRAVE

6

10-06 Wicklow Bloodstock Limited Willie Mullins IRE
FOX NORTON (FR)

5

10-06 B Dunn Nick Williams
MIJHAAR

7

10-06 Bloomfields John Ferguson
RED MERLIN (IRE)

10

10-05 Matthew Taylor Donald McCain
ARZAL (FR)

5

10-05 The Hennessy Six Harry Whittington
BLAIR PERRONE (IRE)

6

10-04 John Breslin Tony Martin IRE
BORDONI (USA)

6

10-04 Bloomfields John Ferguson
ASO (FR)

5

10-04 The Bellamy Partnership Venetia Williams
DANEKING

6

10-04 Susannah Ricci Willie Mullins IRE
ON TOUR (IRE)

7

10-04 T Hywel Jones Evan Williams
MINELLA PRESENT (IRE)

6

10-04 Lady Clarke Neil Mulholland
BALGARRY (FR)

8

10-03 Brocade Racing David Pipe
EMERGING TALENT (IRE)

6

10-02 Mr & Mrs Paul Barber Paul Nicholls
LASER HAWK (IRE)

8

10-01 W J Evans Evan Williams
SWING BOWLER

8

10-01 K Alexander David Pipe
CHIEFTAIN’S CHOICE (IRE)

6

10-00 Carl Hinchy John Quinn
FORCED FAMILY FUN

5

10-00 The Top Silk Syndicate John Quinn
EBONY EXPRESS

6

10-00 ValueRacingClub.co.uk Dr Richard Newland
TOP NOTCH (FR)

4

10-00 Simon Munir & Isaac Souede Nicky Henderson
BARADARI (IRE)

5

9-13 A Brooks Venetia Williams
VIOLET DANCER

5

9-12 D Bessell & Galloping On The South Downs Gary Moore
KASHMIR PEAK (IRE)

6

9-12 Win Only SP Only Partnership John Quinn
GASSIN GOLF

6

9-12 Will Roseff Richard Lee
KAREZAK (IRE)

4

9-12 McNeill Family Alan King
COOL MACAVITY (IRE)

7

9-12 Triermore Stud Nicky Henderson
BALLYBOLLEY (IRE)

6

9-11 Simon Munir & Isaac Souede Nigel Twiston-Davies
WILLEM (FR)

5

9-10 Ecurie Drost David Pipe
FASCINO RUSTICO

7

9-10 John Hales Dan Skelton
SNAKE EYES (IRE)

7

9-08 J P McManus Nicky Henderson
WAR SINGER (USA)

8

9-08 The War Cabinet Johnny Farrelly
HELLO GEORGE (IRE)

6

9-08 M St Quinton/ C Hellyer/ M Strong Philip Hobbs
AS DE FERBET (FR)

5

9-08 Gigginstown House Stud Willie Mullins IRE
FIRST MOHICAN

7

9-07 Henry Ponsonby Alan King
CLONDAW WARRIOR (IRE)

8

9-07 Act D Wagg Syndicate Willie Mullins IRE
LIGHTENTERTAINMENT (IRE)

7

9-06 The Not Over Big Partnership Chris Gordon
BUISENESS SIVOLA (FR)

4

9-01 Simon Munir/Isaac Souede Willie Mullins IRE
A BOY NAMED SUZI

7

nq ABS Partnership Lucy Wadham

 

65 entries

11 Irish-trained

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