41 still going for glory in the £155,000 Betfair Hurdle on Betfair Super Saturday at Newbury Racecourse
A total of 41 horses remain on course for the £155,000 Betfair Hurdle, Britain’s richest handicap hurdle, following the January 23 scratchings deadline, details of which are revealed today.
The very competitive two-mile contest forms part of a tremendous seven-race card at Newbury Racecourse on Betfair Super Saturday, February 10.
Heading the market at 8/1 with Betfair is Lalor (10st 12lb). A G2 bumper winner at Aintree in April last year, the six-year-old has finished in the first three in a trio of decent novices’ hurdles so far this season, most recently taking second behind Western Ryder at Cheltenham on December 15.
Following this week’s sad news of the death of trainer Richard Woollacott, Lalor is now under the care of his wife Kayley.
Nicky Henderson has trained a record five winners of the Betfair Hurdle, taking the honours with My Tent Or Yours (2013), Geos (2004), Landing Light (2001), Geos (2000) and Sharpical (1998).
A quintet of entries from Seven Barrows goes forward for the 2018 Betfair Hurdle, including the mare Kayf Grace (11st 1lb, 10/1), a comfortable winner at Kempton Park over Christmas and Jenkins (11st 4lb, 10/1), who has won his on his latest two appearances, mostly recently taking a G3 handicap hurdle at Ascot on January 20.
Henderson is also responsible for Verdana Blue (11st 6lb, 20/1), third in a valuable G3 handicap at Ascot on December 23, last season’s G1 Triumph Hurdle sixth Charli Parcs (11st 6lb, 16/1) and Lough Derg Spirit (10st 13lb, 12/1), second in the G2 Elite Hurdle at Wincanton in November.
Another trainer with multiple victories in the Betfair Hurdle is Gary Moore who has saddled three winners of the race, latterly with Violet Dancer in 2015. His two remaining are headed by Knocknanuss (10st 10lb, 14/1), a comfortable winner when last seen at Fontwell on Boxing Day.
Gwafa (Paul Webber, 11st 1lb, 50/1) was a very useful performer in 2016, when he landed novices’ events at Fakenham and Huntingdon before defeating seasoned opposition in the G3 Swinton Handicap Hurdle at Haydock in May of that year.
Lightly-raced since his Haydock success, the seven-year-old made his first start in 14 months with a Flat outing on the All-Weather at Lingfield Park on January 20, when he came home sixth in a mile and a half handicap.
Gwafa races in the colours of Saleh Al Homaizi and Imad Al Sagar, famously carried to success in the 2007 Derby at Epsom Downs by Authorized.
Trainer Paul Webber commented: “Gwafa had a nice spin at Lingfield and everything has been good with him since then.
“He had a suspensory problem after he ran at Kempton last season, so that is why he had been off the track.
“He probably wants a bit further than a mile and a half these days, especially at a track like Lingfield, so I thought it was a good performance at the weekend and Fran Berry said the horse gave him a good feeling.
“He has been dropped nine pounds over hurdles and he has solid form, so off of 140 on the right day I think he still has a good race in him.
“The issue will be whether the ground will be suitable for him at Newbury. He would need some drier weather, as I wouldn’t want to run him on tacky ground.”
The weights are now headed by Elgin (Alan King, 11st 12lb, 20/1), who has already scooped valuable handicap hurdles at Ascot and Cheltenham this season.
High Bridge (Ben Pauling, 11st 9lb, 14/1) is a real course specialist having won all of his three starts over hurdles at Newbury, including last time out in a Listed contest on December 2.
Three Irish-trained contenders remain engaged, all trained by Willie Mullins – Lagostovegas (11st 8lb, 25/1), Bleu Et Rouge (11st 7lb, 14/1) and Voix De Reve (11st 6lb, 40/1). The latest of the four Irish-trained winners of the Betfair Hurdle was Essex in 2005.
Other contenders going forward include smart novice Kalashnikov (Amy Murphy, 11st 2lb, 14/1) and Silver Streak (Evan Williams, 10st 8lb, 16/1), runner-up in G3 company at Ascot last month.
The next acceptance stage for the Betfair Hurdle is at the five-day stage on Monday, February 5.
Betfair spokesman Barry Orr commented today: “Nicky Henderson has a strong hand with five entries remaining and, even allowing for his 19lb rise following his two wins, punters are still keen to be with Jenkins, who is 10/1 from 20/1.
“Lough Derg Spirit has also been a popular ante-post bet and combined over 60% of bets taken in the market has been on these two horses.”
Betfair Hurdle, Betfair Bet: 8/1 Lalor; 10/1 Jenkins, Kayf Grace; 12/1 Lough Derg Spirit; 14/1 High Bridge, Kalashnikov, Knocknanuss, Bleu Et Rouge; 16/1 Charli Parcs, Silver Streak, Lostintranslation; 20/1 Elgin, Verdana Blue, Poppy Kay, Moon Racer, Misterton; 25/1 Pingshou, Waterlord, William H Bonney, Divin Bere, Coeur Blimey, Irish Roe, Spiritofthegames, Cliffs of Dover, Lagostovegas; 33/1 Dame Rose, Project Bluebook, Magic Dancer, Wishfull Dreaming; 40/1 Nietzsche, Master of Irony, Voix Du Reve, Mister Miyagi; 50/1 Gwafa, Zalvados, Chti Balko, Remiluc; 66/1 Maquisard, Man Of Plenty, Birch Hill, Bidourey
The Betfair Hurdle
Grade 3 handicap hurdle, £155,000 Total Prize Fund. 3.35pm, Saturday, February 10, 2018. For four-year-olds and upwards, two miles and half a furlong (2m 69yds). Penalties: after January 14, a winner of a hurdle 5lb, a winner of two hurdles 8lb, no penalty to increase a horse’s weight above 11st 12lb. Entries closed January 9, entries revealed January 10 (59 entries), weights revealed January 17. Scratchings deadline January 23 (41 remain), five-day confirmation stage February 5, final declaration stage 10.00am, February 8. Maximum field 24 runners plus 2 reserves.
|ELGIN||6||11-12||Elite Racing Club||Alan King|
|PINGSHOU (IRE)||8||11-09||Ann & Alan Potts Limited||Colin Tizzard|
|HIGH BRIDGE||7||11-09||Margaret Ferguson||Ben Pauling|
|LAGOSTOVEGAS (IRE)||6||11-08||John Donohue||Willie Mullins IRE|
|MISTER MIYAGI (IRE)||9||11-08||Ben Turner & Jay Tabb||Stuart Edmunds|
|BLEU ET ROUGE (FR)||7||11-07||J P McManus||Willie Mullins IRE|
|VERDANA BLUE (IRE)||6||11-06||Crimbourne Stud||Nicky Henderson|
|VOIX DU REVE (FR)||6||11-06||Andrea & Graham Wylie||Willie Mullins IRE|
|CLIFFS OF DOVER||5||11-06||John & Barbara Cotton||Paul Nicholls|
|CHARLI PARCS (FR)||5||11-06||J P McManus||Nicky Henderson|
|DIVIN BERE (FR)||5||11-05||Chris Giles||Paul Nicholls|
|JENKINS (IRE)||6||11-04||Pump & Plant Services Ltd||Nicky Henderson|
|MOON RACER (IRE)||9||11-03||Professor Caroline Tisdall & Bryan Drew||David Pipe|
|MISTERTON||7||11-03||Wilkin, Orr, Boileau & Sim||Harry Fry|
|CHTI BALKO (FR)||6||11-03||D G Carrington||Donald McCain|
|KALASHNIKOV (IRE)||5||11-02||Paul Murphy||Amy Murphy|
|PROJECT BLUEBOOK (FR)||5||11-02||J P McManus||John Quinn|
|DAME ROSE (FR)||5||11-01||Carl Hinchy||Richard Hobson|
|KAYF GRACE||8||11-01||James and Jean Potter||Nicky Henderson|
|GWAFA (IRE)||7||11-01||Saleh Al Homaizi & Imad Al Sagar||Paul Webber|
|REMILUC (FR)||9||11-00||Gilbert & Gamble||Chris Gordon|
|SPIRITOFTHEGAMES (IRE)||6||11-00||N W Lake||Dan Skelton|
|LOUGH DERG SPIRIT (IRE)||6||10-13||Grech & Parkin||Nicky Henderson|
|POPPY KAY||8||10-12||Aiden Murphy & Alan Peterson||Philip Hobbs|
|LALOR (GER)||6||10-12||D G Staddon||Kayley Woollacott|
|KNOCKNANUSS (IRE)||8||10-10||Hail Sargent Evans||Gary Moore|
|WATERLORD||7||10-10||Matthew Taylor||Donald McCain|
|LOSTINTRANSLATION (IRE)||6||10-09||Taylor & O’Dwyer||Colin Tizzard|
|WILLIAM H BONNEY||7||10-09||Mr & Mrs R Scott||Alan King|
|IRISH ROE (IRE)||7||10-09||P G Atkinson||Peter Atkinson|
|MASTER OF IRONY (IRE)||6||10-08||Highfield Racing 6||John Quinn|
|SILVER STREAK (IRE)||5||10-08||L Fell||Evan Williams|
|NIETZSCHE||5||10-07||D Gilbert, M Lawrence, A Bruce, G Wills||Brian Ellison|
|COEUR BLIMEY (IRE)||7||10-07||Keith Harris & Tom Gardner||Susan Gardner|
|ZALVADOS (FR)||5||10-04||D C Mercer||Oliver Greenall|
|WISHFULL DREAMING||7||10-00||Diana Whateley||Olly Murphy|
|BIDOUREY (FR)||7||10-00||Brocade Racing||David Pipe|
|MAGIC DANCER||6||9-13||Mark E Smith & The Magic Partnership||Kerry Lee|
|MAN OF PLENTY||9||9-12||G Thompson||Sophie Leech|
|BIRCH HILL (IRE)||8||9-09||G Thompson||Sophie Leech|
|MAQUISARD (FR)||6||9-09||M K George||Gary Moore|
41 entries remain following January 23 scratchings deadline