Bonus contender Not So Sleepy ‘probable runner’ after 49 stay in Betfair Hurdle

Hughie Morrison is inching closer to putting Not So Sleepy on the trail of the £100,000 Betfair Winter Bonus after the horse was confirmed among 49 horses on course for the Betfair Hurdle after the scratching stage.

Not So Sleepy, who is 7-1 favourite with the sponsor for the feature prize of Betfair Super Saturday at Newbury on February 8, would secure the windfall for owner Lady Blyth if he can add Europe’s richest handicap hurdle to his victory in the Betfair Exchange Trophy at Ascot in December.

“We are feeling our way there,” said Morrison, giving an update on Wednesday. “He hasn’t done any work since he ran at Ascot. He hasn’t schooled. He will do a bit more this week and next week.

“He is a probable runner but all the boxes have to be ticked between now and the raceday.”

Not So Sleepy, put up 17lb for his Ascot success, is set to carry 11st 2lb in the handicap which is headed by Elgin on 11st 12lb. Pentland Hills, Monsieur Lecoq, Fusil Raffles, Aramon, Fred, Colonel Custard and Prudhomme were the horses taken out.

Nigel Twiston-Davies hopes Stolen Silver’s victory on Saturday has provided a significant boost to his chances of clinching a fourth Betfair Hurdle and a second with a grey.

Twiston-Davies took his formidable strike rate in the Newbury contest to three wins in six years when Al Dancer won the prize in 2019 to follow the success of Ballyandy two years earlier. He also won the race with Splash Of Ginge in 2014.

Stolen Silver registered his second victory over hurdles from four starts when rallying late to land the Grade 2 Rossington Main Novices’ Hurdle at Haydock last weekend which earned him a 5lb penalty for the Betfair Hurdle.

Dai Walters, who owned last year’s race winner Al Dancer, shares Stolen Silver and a second contender in course and distance winner Sir Valentine with James and Jean Potter. 

Twiston-Davies said: “It looks like we could have two candidates with Sir Valentine who is in the same ownership. I am hopeful both will run. We would be looking for our fourth win with Splash Of Ginge, Ballyandy and Al Dancer our previous winners.

“There is not much between them at all and Sir Valentine has plenty of experience from running on the Flat. Novices in this race have been a good formula for us. I would think Sam is going to have a difficult choice.”

Betfair Spokesman, Barry Orr, commented today: “There is not much change in the betting since the weights were revealed with the Betfair Exchange Trophy winner and £100k bonus seeker, Not So Sleepy, still heading the market at 7-1. There has been some money for Eldorado Allen who is 8-1 from 10-1 and Stolen Silver, 10-1 from 16-1.”

The Betfair Hurdle is part of Betfair Super Saturday, which also features the £50,000 G2 Betfair Denman Chase, a leading trial for the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the £50,000 G2 Betfair Exchange Game Spirit Chase over an extended two miles.

Betfair Betting: 7-1 Not So Sleepy, 8 Eldorado Allen, 17-2 Never Adapt, 10 Stolen Silver, 12 Mack The Man, 14 Thebannerkingrebel, 16 Buildmeupbuttercup, Ciel De Neige, Gumball, Harambe, Janidil, Oakley, Quoi de Neuf, Sceau Royal, 20 Bullionaire, Countister, Ecco, Eglantine Du Seuil, Elixir De Nutz, Highly Prized, Lightly Squeeze, Mill Green, Pacify, Sir Valentine, Sofias Rock, Tiger Tap Tap, Vienna Court, Whoshotthesheriff, 25 bar

Each Way 1/5 odds 5 places