Gaelic Warrior installed as early market leader with the sponsor and among six
Irish-trained entries for Europe’s richest handicap hurdle


First Street who finished third in last year’s renewal heads 45 entries for the Grade 3 £155,000 Betfair Hurdle, the centrepiece on Betfair Super Saturday at Newbury Racecourse in a little over four weeks on Saturday, 11 February.

On official ratings Nicky Henderson’s six-year-old, who carries the colours of Lady Bamford and Alice Bamford, is 4lbs higher than last year’s winner, Glory And Fortune who also figures among the entries, ahead of publication of the weights on 18 January.

First Street was last seen finishing third when stepping up in trip in the Grade 2 Relkeel Hurdle at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day after taking Newbury’s Gerry Fielden over the Betfair Hurdle distance in some style at the end of November, and is currently quoted at 12/1 with the sponsor.

Henderson said, “He ran well behind Marie’s Rock at Cheltenham but he just didn’t quite stay over the two-and-half miles up that hill, and it was soft.  He’s one of those difficult horses, he’s at the top of the handicap and I expect he’ll get a stone more than he did last year, but he’s not far off a Champion Hurdle horse.”

Henderson has also entered the J.P McManus-owned No Ordinary Joe (10/1) who won a two-mile Handicap Hurdle at Kempton last month, and Impulsive One, a winner at Huntingdon in November.

Heading the early show with the meeting’s title sponsor, Betfair, is the Willie Mullins trained Gaelic Warrior (7/2), one of six Irish entries including stablemates Icare Allen (8/1) and Gauloise (14/1).

Beaten by just a short head in the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle at last year’s Cheltenham Festival, the five-year-old opened his campaign with an astonishing 86 lengths victory in a two-mile maiden hurdle at Tramore last month when he was sent off at 1/12 under Paul Townend.

The race has been well supported by Betfair ambassador Paul Nicholls with six entries which include last Saturday’s Sandown runner-up Iceo.  He said on his website, “Iceo ran a highly promising race finishing second in a competitive handicap at Sandown on his return from a little fracture that required surgery.  He’d been off for a while, just needed the outing, will improve plenty for it and could be an interesting contender for the Betfair Hurdle in a month’s time.”

Betfair Spokesman, Barry Orr, commented today: “It’s an exceptionally large and strong list of entries with the Willie Mullins trained novice, Gaelic Warrior, quoted as 7/2 favourite in the opening show. Willie has some history in the race having been just touched off with the gambled on Ciel De Neige in 2020.

“Paul Nicholls has Saturday’s runner-up, Iceo, who is 14/1, as is stablemate Rubaud, who has been mentioned favourably in recent Ditcheat dispatches.

“Throw in a couple of past winners in the shape of Soaring Glory and Glory And Fortune it has all the ingredients for a vintage renewal.”

Betfair Super Saturday gets underway at 1.15pm with the Betfair Cheltenham Roarcast Novices’ Limited Handicap Steeplechase and promises a stellar card which includes the the Betfair Denman Chase and the Betfair Exchange Game Spirit Chase which both boast Grade 2 Status.

Newbury Clerk of the Course Keith Ottesen said, “The Betfair Hurdle is always one of the most intriguing, eagerly anticipated handicaps of the season and, looking at the early entries, this year’s race is unlikely to be an exception. It’s also encouraging that the numbers are up on last year including a healthy number of Irish-trained entries. As always, we are very grateful to our partners Betfair for their support.”


The Betfair Hurdle – Sponsor Odds: 7/2 Gaelic Warrior, 6/1 Filey Bay, 6/1 Gin Coco, 8/1 Monviel,10/1 No Ordinary Joe, Icare Allen, Pikar, 12/1 Aucunrisque, Colonel Mustard,  First Street, Hardy du Seuil, 14/1 Toothless, Gauloise, Iceo, Might I, Rubaud, 16/1 Teddy Blue, Marble Sands, Master Chewy, Mark of Gold, Lallygag, Highway One O Two, Glory And Fortune, Metier, A Different Kind, Timeforatune, 20/1 Yorksea, Anyharminasking, Fine Casting, Soaring Glory, L’Eau du Sud, 25/1 Petit Tonnerre, Tritonic, Nayati, Onemorefortheroad, Impulsive One, Faivoir, Restitution, 33/1 bar

*Each-Way 1-2-3-4-5