Betfair Hurdle Preview: Tips, Betting Offers and Odds, Newbury, 3.35, 10 February 2018
The high class jumping action continues into February with Newbury’s Betfair Hurdle. Here we take a look at some of the best odds and offers available, betting tips for the race and a look through its history.
The contest itself is a Grade 3 handicap hurdle run over Newbury’s left handed, stiff galloping track. Over a distance of two miles 110 yards, a field containing a number of the top handicap hurdlers in training will set off in pursuit of the prize fund which has risen to £155,000 over the years.
Betfair Hurdle Betting Tips
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Betfair Hurdle Tips and Race Preview
All of a sudden, the Cheltenham Festival is a month away. The final touches are being made to welcome the huge crowds at Prestbury Park while every trainer with an entry to the Festival is doing all they can to get their charges to peak at just the right time.
For some that means a trip to Newbury this weekend for Betfair Super Saturday. There’s a top quality card to enjoy with the pick of the action provided by the Grade 3 Betfair Hurdle.. Run over a little more than two miles, this is the most lucrative handicap hurdle in British racing and the 2018 edition is shaping up to be as competitive as ever.
Trends Helpful in the Search for a Winner
The Betfair Hurdle is at once incredibly exciting and daunting. No less than 15 horses are rated as 15/1 shots or shorter and while that presents great opportunity, it does make it tough to pick out a winner.
Therefore, it makes sense to have a look at recent trends to help inform your decision. On that front, the first thing to note is that each of the last 15 winners carried less than 11-8 while you need a very good reason to back any horse with an official rating much below 130.
Recent form is important (favour horses who finished third at least) as is a certain amount of experience as the vast majority of recent winners had at least two hurdles wins to their names. Five and six-year-olds have a monopoly on wins since 2005 while big name trainers have dominated since the turn of the century.
Henderson Can Win, But Not Necessarily with the Favourite
Nicky Henderson has had his fair share of success in the Betfair Hurdle and it’s his six-year-old, Jenkins, who heads the betting with most bookies. The support coming in for Jenkins is understandable as he goes in search of a third straight win but it’s another Henderson horse, Kayf Grace, who offers the most appeal at the head of the market at 12/1 with Ladbrokes.
The main concern about Kayf Grace is her age. At eight, she would be the oldest Betfair Hurdle winner since 2004 but it’s not quite that straightforward. Kayf Grace missed the best part of a year with injury before returning in November and, according to Henderson, has recently overcome a problem with muscle enzymes.
She’s relatively lightly raced for her age and, after blowing away the cobwebs at Ascot, returned to her best by winning at Kempton last time out. A repeat of that performance could well be enough at Newbury.
Improvement Possible from Divin Bere
Kayf Grace showed how important it is to forgive quality horses for a poor performance on their return from a break and in that spirit, Divin Bere could be one to watch on Saturday. His disappointing showing at Ascot came after almost nine months off and was his first appearance for trainer, Paul Nicholls.
The five-year-old has served it up to some of the best two mile hurdlers around and Nicholls clearly sees something in him so back Divin Bere each-way at 25/1 with Racebets.
Betfair Hurdle Previous Winners
- 2017 – Ballyandy – jockey Sam Twiston-Davies, trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies
- 2016 – Agrapart – jockey Lizzie Kelly, trainer Nick Williams
- 2015 – Violet Dancer – jockey Josh Moore, trainer Gary Moore
- 2014 – Splash Of Ginge – jockey Ryan Hatch, trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies
- 2013 – My Tent Or Yours – jockey Tony McCoy, trainer Nicky Henderson
- 2012 – Zarkandar – jockey Ruby Walsh, trainer Paul Nicholls
- 2011 – Recession Proof – jockey Dougie Costello, trainer John Quinn
- 2010 – Get Me Out Of Here – jockey Tony McCoy, trainer Jonjo O’Neill
- 2009 – No Race – jockey n/a, trainer n/a
- 2008 – Wingman – jockey Jamie Moore, trainer Gary Moore
- 2007 – Heathcote – jockey Jamie Moore, trainer Gary Moore
- 2006 – No Race – jockey n/a, trainer n/a
Betfair Hurdle History
The first edition of this contest took place at the Merseyside track of Aintree, but the race has been contested at this Berkshire venue ever since. During this time the event has suffered more than most from the vagaries of the British weather. There were 11 abandonments or cancellations in all between 1969 and 2012.
Rosyth took the inaugural running for trainer H Ryan Price. The same horse followed up in 1964 to become the first (and so far only) horse to win the race in back to back years. Jockey aboard Rosyth for both victories was one Josh Gifford. In all Gifford teamed up with Price to win four of the first five running’s of this race. Fast forward to 1990 and Gifford had his name in lights here once again, this time as a trainer with Deep Sensation.
H Ryan Price isn’t the only trainer to have enjoyed a period of dominance in the history of this race. Nicky Henderson took the spoils four times in just seven years between 1998 and 2004, twice with Geos who became just the second horse to take the prize on more than one occasion. That horse’s second win came at the age of 9, also making him the oldest winner in the history of the race.
Gary Moore sent our three winners from his Sussex base between 2007 and 2015 for a trio of family successes. Each time the winner was partnered by one of his sons, twice by Jamie and once by Josh. Fans of the flat will of course be familiar with Ryan Moore, who is yet another of the talented Moore siblings.
The race was first sponsored by betting exchange giant Betfair in 2012, having previously benefitted from the backing of first Schweppes and later Tote Bookmakers.
Whoever the sponsor has been, it has often taken a pretty smart performer to land this prize. Star names on the roll of honour include the three time Champion Hurdle winner, Persian War; future Champion Chase victor, Deep Sensation; Champion Hurdler Make A Stand and the multiple Grade 1 winner Zarkandar.
Trends fans will be interested to note that 30 of the first 42 winners of this race were aged either five or six years old. A similarly strong pattern emerges when we look at the weight carried by the winner. On 30 of 42 occasions the horse to come home in front has been burdened with 11 stone or less.
These two statistics make sense, it is the younger horse who is more likely to be fleet of foot enough to prevail over this two mile trip, whilst carrying a big weight can become a particular hindrance given the often soft/heavy ground conditions at this time of year.