Betfair Hurdle Tips and Free Bets – 8th February 2020

Betfair Hurdle Preview: Tips, Betting Offers and Odds, Newbury, 8th February 2020

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 Tips and Betting Offers, 3:35, 8th February 2020

The Betfair Hurdle is the big betting heat of the day on a strong card at Newbury. This Grade 3 handicap always poses punters with a difficult puzzle to try and work out. The last 10 years have seen five horses win when sent off as either the favourite or co-favourite but also four double figure winners including at 20/1 and 33/1.

The race, which carries a prize purse of £155,000, was oversubscribed so we have another highly competitive looking race to enjoy with several tempting options in the betting.

Can Sleepy Earn His Bonus?

The Betfair Hurdle isn’t just a cracking etting race, it has also produced some high class winners in recent years. The jury is out as to just how far Not So Sleepy can go but his connections are very much hoping that he’ll have a highly successful career over hurdles having returned to racing over obstacles from the flat.

There was some doubt about Not So Sleepy’s participation in the Betfair Hurdle but connections have been tempted for two main reasons.

The first is to see whether he can cope with the 17lb rise imposed on him by the handicapper following his Betfair Exchange Trophy win last month which could make up connections’ minds about a fairly audacious attempt to win the Champion Hurdle.

The second is the £100,000 bonus that connections will trouser if he gets the win. Punters are clearly not overly concerned by his raise up the weights as Not So Sleepy is contending for favouritism, his combination of speed and jumping ability suggesting he can get the job done in this 2 mile ½ furlong contest.

Each Way Options Aplenty

The full field of 24 horses competing in the Betfair Hurdle only makes it a tougher race to win. Any of the market principles can find themselves held up by traffic, opening the door to one of the less fancied runners to take advantage.

Harambe is one of those who offers each way appeal at 18/1 with Ladbrokes. Alan King’s seven-year-old isn’t the most consistent sort but he’s toughed it out to win some challenging races before as has Gumball who is a 33/1 shot with BetVictor.

The main question mark with those two is whether the handicapper has found them out. One who looks to be better treated in the weights is Oakley for Philip Hobbs. The seven-year-old has run well in his last two races without being able to get over the line. That includes in November when he finished less than 2½ lengths behind Not So Sleepy at Ascot.

The favourite showed improvement in his subsequent performance but Oakley will carry 5lb less than Not So Sleepy on Saturday whereas he was 5lb worse off in November so his chances are likely better than the 12/1 that Coral are quoting.

Betting Predictions

The Betfair Hurdle is one of those races where you can make a case for many of the runners. Not So Sleepy is the horse about whom most of the noise is being made though and for very good reason. He can head to Cheltenham on the back of a hat-trick of hurdle wins with 15/2 a fair price from Ladbrokes about his chances.

Betfair Hurdle Previous Winners

  • 2019 – Al Dancer – jockey Sam Twiston-Davies, trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies
  • 2018 – Kalashnikov – jockey Jack Quinlan, trainer Amy Murphy
  • 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 nine, 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.

Nigel Twiston-Davies has also saddled three winners (2014, 2017 and 2019), the latter two of these with son Sam in the saddle.

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.