Friday, February 11, 2022

The 2022 Betfair Hurdle

It looks like a sign of the times with a field of just 14 declared for tomorrow's renewal of the UK's richest handicap hurdle (3.35 Newbury).

A couple of stats for starters:

The last horse older than six to come home in front was Geos in 2004.

Since the inaugural running of the race in 1963 (then known as the Schweppes Gold Trophy) only five horses have carried more than 11-05 to victory: Persian War (11-13) in 1968; Make A Stand (11-07) in 1997; Copeland (11-07) in 2002; Essex (11-06) in 2005; and Al Dancer (11-08) in 2019.

It comes as no surprise to see novices Broomfield Burg and Jpr One at the head of the market; both horses hold entries for the Supreme and the Ballymore at Cheltenham next month.

The former looked good at Kempton on Boxing Day while the latter was beaten a head by Datsalrightgino on his penultimate start; the fourth that day - Socialist Agenda - was in receipt of six pounds and last weekend turned out to win the Scottish County Handicap Hurdle at Musselburgh off  118 and is now rated 124.

Top weight Soaring Glory beat 22 opponents to win this last year off a mark of 133 (Fifty Ball second, Glory And Fortune thirteenth) with horses in behind including Edwardstone, Buzz, Guard Your Dreams and Milkwood.

Soaring Glory and Glory And Fortune look to face a stiff task at the weights this time but Fifty Ball goes off 131 - exactly the same mark as twelve months ago. 

I've seen a couple of tips for Gary Moore's inmate who comes into this on the back of three unsuccessful starts over the larger obstacles. Interest is tempered by this comment in the Weekender last week:

"The key to his chance is soft ground and if he gets those underfoot conditions then he has a big each-way shout again."

Of stablemate Royaume Uni Moore says:

"...but life is proving difficult off his mark of 123. I think he is as high as he is going to get and if we are going to get any improvement then it will be on ground that is riding quicker than he has encountered lately."

Boothill, third behind Soaring Glory in the listed Bateaux London Handicap Hurdle at Ascot in November, disappointed over fences at Exeter next time but remains relatively unexposed while Jetoile goes well from the front but may be rated on his second behind Constitution Hill in the Tolworth.

Tritonic and Glory And Fortune appear closely matched on their running in the Greatwood. Alan King's charge beat Onemorefortheroad in the Betfair Exchange Trophy at Ascot just before Christmas and was subsequently raised five pounds.

On his first run after wind surgery First Street won comfortably at Kempton last month (Royaume Uni third, 3/1 favourite Lord Baddesley pulled up); a rise of nine pounds looks a trifle harsh but trainer Nicky Henderson says you'd struggle to split First Street and stablemate Broomfield Burg at home. 

Howdyalikmenow has done well since joining Evan Williams' yard in the autumn but has no collateral form with others in this field and is priced up at 66/1 this evening.

Knappers Hill encountered defeat for the first time in the Kennel Gate at Ascot behind Jonbon - currently 11/2 for the Supreme - and Colonel Mustard with I Like To Move It fifth. 

The recent form of the Nicholls yard has been well documented - one winner from 37 runs in the past fortnight and no runners at the track since Sunday; it's difficult to know what to expect tomorrow but if Bravemansgame, Clan Des Obeaux and Hitman run to form, the 10/1 currently on offer will look big.

I Like To Move It also holds entries for the Supreme and the Ballymore. 

Just before Christmas he had to concede weight to all his opponents in that tactical renewal of the Kennel Gate won by Knappers Hill. Prior to that his defeat of Tritonic at Cheltenham reads well (re-opposes here on the same terms) as does his defeat of Washington conceding three pounds. 

On a line through Washington he has a few pounds to find with Jpr One but Twiston-Davies boasts a decent record with novices in this race, having won with Splash Of Ginge (2014); Ballyandy (2017); and Al Dancer (2019).

At the time of writing William Hill offer 11/1 and pay five places; I Like To Move It is the each-way selection.


Anonymous said...

Betfair Hurdle

168,FIFTY BALL(FR),8.4
162,JPR ONE(IRE),6.3

Ground at Newbury continues to dry out, morning going report now good to Soft [Good in places]. Numerically small field but no less competitive for that.

In search of both a bet and some value I’ve honed in on Royaume Uni; the drying ground is in his favour, his record when running left handed is 3 wins and a place, he was competitive off this mark at Cheltenham two runs ago and LTO was right handed on soft ground so I’ve forgiven that effort. 14/1 5 places 1/5 odds looks a fair bet to the system.

That said impossible to rule any of them out including I Like To move It

Good luck!


GeeDee said...

Thanks for your ratings, TW.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

At the time of writing William Hill offer 11/1 and pay five places; I Like To Move It is the each-way selection.

A short-head....but a cracking selection all the same...well done!


GeeDee said...

Carrying a weight of 11-08 Glory And Fortune (20/1) became the first horse older than six to win the Betfair Hurdle since Geos in 2004.

In a fast run race Tom Lacey's charge was held up as Jetoile (8/1) set a brisk early pace. The winner started to make his ground as they left the back straight and hit the front after a good jump three out; I Like To Move It (12/1) threw down his challenge from the penultimate flight.

A mistake by the leader at the last opened the door for the selection who had raced prominently to that point; a duel ensued with I Like To Move It closing on the leader on the run to the line but ultimately he was unable to get past, eventually going down a short head in a thrilling finish.

First Street (14/1) was two and threequarters lengths behind in third while 66/1 shot Lord Baddesley stayed on from the rear to claim fourth ahead of Soaring Glory (8/1).