Whittington targeting “exciting” Affaire D’Honneur at Newbury’s Betfair Hurdle
Weights are unveiled today for the £155,000 Betfair Hurdle, Britain’s richest handicap hurdle, which takes place at Newbury on Betfair Super Saturday, February 13.
Last year’s Grade One Triumph Hurdle hero Peace And Co (Nicky Henderson, 16/1 with Betfair) heads the weights on 11st 12lb, followed on 11st 10lb by Sempre Medici (Willie Mullins IRE, 16/1), who was last seen out when landing a Grade Three hurdle at Naas on January 16, and Sign Of A Victory (11st 6lb, Nicky Henderson, 20/1), a Listed winner at Ascot last season.
Betfair’s 7/1 market leader is Modus (Paul Nicholls), who has been allotted 10st 6lb. The six-year-old was a high-class performer in bumpers last season but has yet to run in a handicap after three starts over hurdles which have yielded two wins and a third.
Others prominent in the ante-post market with Betfair are Desoto County (10st 4lb, Gordon Elliott IRE, 12/1), who finished third in a valuable handicap hurdle at Leopardstown on January 17, a race in which Kalkir (11st, Willie Mullins IRE, 14/1) took the runner-up spot. Also on the 16/1 mark is War Sound (11st 1lb, Philip Hobbs), who was last seen when winning the valuable Swinton Handicap Hurdle at Haydock Park in May, 2015.
Affaire D’Honneur (9st 13lb, Harry Whittington, 16/1) made his British debut at Kempton Park on December 27, running a cracking race to go down by a length to Zulu Oscar in a two-mile handicap hurdle. He was previously based in France, where he was placed on both starts over hurdles.
Trainer Harry Whittington, who is based not far from Newbury at Sparsholt and has an enviable strike-rate of over 30 per cent this season, commented: “The plan is for Affair D’Honneur to go for the Betfair Hurdle.
“I was very pleased with his performance at Kempton over Christmas. We thought he would run very well as he had been showing us the right signs at home and felt he was well-handicapped.
“Obviously, the Betfair Hurdle will be a bigger test for him but he seems to be improving. The plan will be to go straight to Newbury and keep him fresh.
“I think he would go on any ground. We thought at first he was probably a good ground horse and maybe that would be against him at Kempton but Gavin (Sheehan, jockey) said after that race that he would probably go on softer ground. He seems to have that bit of class.
“We ran Arzal in the Betfair Hurdle last year. He got badly hampered early on and I thought he was going to be pulled up but he picked up well and finished strongly to finish sixth.
“Affaire D’Honneur has speed and class so we will give it a go and see what happens.”
The maximum field allowed to line up for the Betfair Hurdle is 24.
The Betfair Hurdle is the highlight of a fabulous seven-race programme at Newbury on Betfair Super Saturday, February 13, which also features the £50,000 Grade Two Betfair Denman Chase, won by subsequent Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Coneygree in 2015, and the £50,000 Grade Two Betfair Exchange Chase.
Betfair media spokesman Barry Orr said: “Modus has been really well backed since we first offered this race and is now 7/1 from an initial 12/1 to give Paul Nicholls another victory in the UK’s richest handicap hurdle.
“It looks like there will be a strong Irish contingent this year with Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott leading the charge.
Betfair Hurdle – Betfair prices:
7/1 Modus, 12/1 Desoto County, 14/1 Kalkir, 16/1 Affaire D’Honneur, All Yours, Charmix, Emerging Talent, John Constable, Le Prezien, Peace And Co, Renneti, Sempre Medici, Starchitect, Sternrubin, War Sound, 20/1 Agrapart, Aristo du Plessis, Buiseness Sivola, Cardinal Walter, Childrens List, Days of Heaven, De Name Escapes Me, Dicosimo, Herminator, Mick Jazz, Petite Parisienne, Sceau Royal, Sign of A Victory, Some Plan, Ubak, Waxies Dargle, Whatsforuwontgobyu, Zarib, 25/1 Aminabad, Champagne At Tara, Cheltenian, Flute Bowl, Francis of Assisi, Ice Cold Soul, Ivan Grozny, Mad Jack Mytton, Matorico, Melodic Rendezvous, Nabucco, Noble Inn, Pearl Castle, Qewy, Theos Charm, Unanimite, Winner Massagot, 33/1 Baby King, Blazer, Devilment, Ebony Express, Flying Angel, Forest Bihan, Fou Et Sage, Galizzi, Hawk High, Holly Bush Henry, Kayf Blanco, Monsieur Gibraltar, Montbazon, Princely Conn, Rayvin Black, Royal Guardsman, Sir Scorpion, Three Kingdoms, Vercingetorix, Whiteout, Zaidiyn, 50/1 Chieftains Choice, 66/1 Clayton
Each way 1/4 odds 1-2-3-4
The Betfair Hurdle
Grade 3, £155,000 Total Prize Fund. 3.45pm, Saturday, February 13, 2016. For four-year-olds and upwards, two miles and half a furlong (2m 69yds). Penalties: after January 17, 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 12, entries revealed January 13 (75 entries), weights revealed January 20 (73 entries remain). Scratchings deadline January 26, five-day confirmation stage February 8, final declaration stage 10.00am, February 11.
|PEACE AND CO (FR)||5||11-12||Simon Munir & Isaac Souede||Nicky Henderson|
|SEMPRE MEDICI (FR)||6||11-10||Susannah Ricci||Willie Mullins IRE|
|SIGN OF A VICTORY (IRE)||7||11-06||Matt & Lauren Morgan||Nicky Henderson|
|RENNETI (FR)||7||11-06||Susannah Ricci||Willie Mullins IRE|
|CHELTENIAN (FR)||10||11-06||Roger Brookhouse||Philip Hobbs|
|MELODIC RENDEZVOUS||10||11-03||Cash For Honours||Jeremy Scott|
|ARISTO DU PLESSIS (FR)||6||11-03||Mrs J M Dodd||James Ewart|
|DICOSIMO (FR)||5||11-03||Susannah Ricci||Willie Mullins IRE|
|WAR SOUND||7||11-01||The Englands and Heywoods||Philip Hobbs|
|KALKIR (FR)||5||11-00||Susannah Ricci||Willie Mullins IRE|
|ALL YOURS (FR)||5||11-00||Mr & Mrs P Barber & Potensis Bloodstock Ltd||Paul Nicholls|
|RAYVIN BLACK||7||10-13||R White & V J Walsh||Oliver Sherwood|
|HAWK HIGH (IRE)||6||10-12||Trevor Hemmings||Tim Easterby|
|IVAN GROZNY (FR)||6||10-12||Andrea & Graham Wylie||Willie Mullins IRE|
|CHARMIX (FR)||6||10-12||Nicholas Cooper||Harry Fry|
|SOME PLAN (IRE)||8||10-12||Roger Brookhouse||Paul Nicholls|
|PETITE PARISIENNE (FR)||5||10-11||Gigginstown House Stud||Willie Mullins IRE|
|QEWY (IRE)||6||10-11||Bloomfields||John Ferguson|
|UBAK (FR)||8||10-11||Nick Peacock||Gary Moore|
|DE NAME ESCAPES ME (IRE)||6||10-10||J P McManus||Noel Meade IRE|
|DAYS OF HEAVEN (FR)||6||10-10||Michael Buckley||Nicky Henderson|
|FOU ET SAGE (FR)||5||10-10||A Brooks||Dan Skelton|
|BUISENESS SIVOLA (FR)||5||10-09||Simon Munir/Isaac Souede||Willie Mullins IRE|
|STERNRUBIN (GER)||5||10-09||Terry Warner||Philip Hobbs|
|WAXIES DARGLE||7||10-09||J P McManus||Noel Meade IRE|
|FRANCIS OF ASSISI (IRE)||6||10-08||Bloomfields||John Ferguson|
|THREE KINGDOMS (IRE)||7||10-08||Bloomfields||John Ferguson|
|WHITEOUT (GER)||5||10-08||David Lawlor||Willie Mullins IRE|
|AMINABAD (FR)||6||10-08||Gigginstown House Stud||Willie Mullins IRE|
|LE PREZIEN (FR)||5||10-07||Million in Mind Partnership||Paul Nicholls|
|MAD JACK MYTTON (IRE)||6||10-07||J C & S R Hitchins||Jonjo O’Neill|
|PEARL CASTLE (IRE)||6||10-07||Cosy Seal Racing Limited||Karl Burke|
|FOREST BIHAN (FR)||5||10-07||P J Martin||Brian Ellison|
|MONTBAZON (FR)||9||10-07||David Sewell||Alan King|
|JOHN CONSTABLE (IRE)||5||10-06||Walters Plant Hire Ltd||Evan Williams|
|MODUS||6||10-06||J P McManus||Paul Nicholls|
|CHILDRENS LIST (IRE)||6||10-06||Susannah Ricci||Willie Mullins IRE|
|CARDINAL WALTER (IRE)||7||10-06||Fitri Hay||Nicky Henderson|
|NOBLE INN (FR)||6||10-05||M J Mulvaney||Willie Mullins IRE|
|KAYF BLANCO||7||10-05||Mrs L Day, H Burdett & G McPherson||Graeme McPherson|
|AGRAPART (FR)||5||10-04||The Gascoigne Brookes Partnership III||Nick Williams|
|DESOTO COUNTY||7||10-04||Paul & Clare Rooney||Gordon Elliott IRE|
|PRINCELY CONN (IRE)||7||10-04||J P McManus||Thomas Mullins|
|MATORICO (IRE)||5||10-03||J P McManus||Jonjo O’Neill|
|UNANIMITE (FR)||5||10-03||Simon Munir & Isaac Souede||David Pipe|
|STARCHITECT (IRE)||5||10-02||Paul & Clare Rooney||David Pipe|
|MONSIEUR GIBRALTAR (FR)||5||10-02||Mrs D Thompson||Paul Nicholls|
|EMERGING TALENT (IRE)||7||10-02||Mr & Mrs Paul Barber||Paul Nicholls|
|VERCINGETORIX (IRE)||5||10-01||Simon Munir/Isaac Souede||Gordon Elliott IRE|
|ZARIB (IRE)||5||10-01||Notalotterry||Dan Skelton|
|HOLLY BUSH HENRY (IRE)||5||10-01||Lady Bamford & Alice Bamford||Graeme McPherson|
|ZAIDIYN (FR)||6||10-01||P J Martin||Brian Ellison|
|SCEAU ROYAL (FR)||4||10-01||Simon Munir & Isaac Souede||Alan King|
|EBONY EXPRESS||7||10-00||ValueRacingClubcouk||Dr Richard Newland|
|WHATSFORUWONTGOBYU (IRE)||6||10-00||J P McManus||Tony Martin IRE|
|ROYAL GUARDSMAN (IRE)||9||9-13||Camilla & Rosie Nock||Ali Stronge|
|FLUTE BOWL||6||9-13||C E Stedman||Gary Moore|
|AFFAIRE D’HONNEUR (FR)||5||9-13||A Holt||Harry Whittington|
|HERMINATOR (FR)||6||9-13||Coldunell Limited||Willie Mullins IRE|
|THEO’S CHARM (IRE)||6||9-13||Michael O’Shea||Nick Gifford|
|ICE COLD SOUL (IRE)||6||9-13||Gigginstown House Stud||Noel Meade IRE|
|WINNER MASSAGOT (FR)||5||9-13||Masterson Holdings Limited||Alan King|
|GALIZZI (USA)||5||9-12||Bloomfields||John Ferguson|
|MICK JAZZ (FR)||5||9-11||Potensis Bloodstock Limited||Harry Fry|
|CHIEFTAIN’S CHOICE (IRE)||7||9-10||Carl Hinchy||Kevin Frost|
|CHAMPAGNE AT TARA||7||9-10||J P McManus||Jonjo O’Neill|
|BABY KING (IRE)||7||9-09||About Two Weeks||Tom George|
|FLYING ANGEL (IRE)||5||9-09||R J Rexton||Nigel Twiston-Davies|
|BLAZER (FR)||5||9-07||J P McManus||Willie Mullins IRE|
|SIR SCORPION (IRE)||7||9-07||J P McManus||Tom Mullins IRE|
|CLAYTON||7||9-03||Ashley Head||Gary Moore|
73 entries remain (BAMAKO MORIVIERE (FR) & SIZING TENNESSEE (IRE) do not go forward)