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Betfair Hurdle: Jamie Lynch with the lowdown on every runner in Newbury feature on Super Saturday

Betfair Hurdle: Jamie Lynch with the lowdown on every runner in Newbury feature on Super Saturday

It’s the Betfair Hurdle on Super Saturday at Newbury, and we’ve got you covered with every runner and rider taking to the track in the showpiece event; watch every race this Saturday on Sky Sports Racing

Image: The Betfair Hurdle takes place at Newbury on Saturday

At The Races Senior Form Analyst Jamie Lynch gives us the lowdown on every runner in an excellent edition of Britain’s richest handicap hurdle at Newbury.

Always one of the most important and influential handicap hurdles each year, and you have to go all the way back to 2005 for the last time there was this many runners in the Betfair Hurdle, live on Sky Sports Racing at 3.15pm on Super Saturday at Newbury.

The standard at the top end isn’t quite so high as usual – Luccia is off 140 when the average rating of the top-weight in the five prior years was 149 – but the field is full to brimming with high-rollers and higher-hop improvers. Let’s look at all the contenders in an excellent edition of the Betfair Hurdle, live on Sky Sports Racing on Super Saturday at Newbury.

Watch the Betfair Hurdle from Newbury live on Sky Sports Racing (Sky 415 | Virgin 519) on Saturday 10th February.

  • Weekend Winners: Iberico Lord tipped up for Betfair Hurdle success
  • Newbury ready for Super Saturday spectacle


Jockey: David Bass | Trainer: N J Henderson

In the right place at the right time when making all in the companion handicap to this at Ascot, a performance easier explained than reproduced in the face of a stiffer test on softer ground in a bigger field, and the 4lb rise burdens her with top-weight, needing almost to be Grade One class to pull that off.

Image: Luccia is one of four Nicky Henderson declarations for the Betfair Hurdle.

Spirit D’Aunou

Caoilin Quinn (3) | G L Moore

Gary Moore has an exceptional record in the Betfair Hurdle considering its competitiveness. Two of his successful trio were five-year-olds, as is Spirit D’Aunou who, since his debut, has improved and won every start bar his rusty reappearance. Up a hefty 10lb for Sandown when last seen in early-December, though the first two were clear of Punta Del Este (wide-margin winner next time) and the time was five seconds faster than the rearranged Fighting Fifth. His trainer and trajectory automatically put him on the short-list, though it’s slightly odd to see him quite so far up the racecard with more weight than all bar Luccia.


Miss Heidi Palin (7) | D Skelton

Pulled up in this last year prior to an improbable turnaround to win the County Hurdle at 33-1. Has shown the old spark only once this season and hard to treat him as a Langer Dan type given his age and stage of career.


Liam Harrison | D Skelton

The critical point is that if he came up short in the Greatwood (seventh) under a 5lb penalty how is he going to pack more of a punch here with 2lb more? He has a backbone of strong form – beating Altobelli at Ascot on his reappearance and beaten only by Iceo in last year’s Imperial Cup – but the handicapper is in charge now and Knickerbockerglory won’t get his own way in front in a field like this.


Jack Quinlan | N B King

Dropping back to 2m will be more a help than a hindrance and Aucunrisque last year reminded that front-runners can win the Betfair. Not many, if any, will be able to catch him.


James Bowen | N J Henderson

Plenty of positives with him, but there’s a niggle as to whether his jumping is slick enough for a Betfair Hurdle, plus testing ground is a complete unknown, having kept to good/good to soft so far, by design or not.

Aurigny Mill

Alan Johns | V R A Dartnall

Others might be younger or sexier but few if any of the 24-strong field are in the groove so much as he is, winning basically as he liked at Wincanton and Kempton, latterly nearly four seconds quicker than Sir Gino on the same card. Those were good test runs, being well-run races in the mud, clearly in his element, looking the type who’ll be even better in a better race, as Newbury undoubtedly is. Hawadeth was fourth at 40-1 in the 2005 renewal (then the Totesport Trophy) for Victor Dartnall; this fella might match that and more.

Image: Aurigny Mill is all set for the Betfair Hurdle


Jack Hogan (3) | F O’Brien

Making his handicap debut, but has hidden nothing, keeping top novice company, winning a Grade Two at Haydock before his limits were exposed by the Grade One Formby at Aintree, faltering on the softest ground he’s faced. This is no easier, and the ground might be no drier by Saturday, either.


J J Burke | Harry Fry

Setting his stall out to be a fixture in these premier handicaps for years to come based on his pair of placings so far, both at Ascot in races that have tested speed, when his development as a novice was built rather more on stamina: he won on heavy at Ffos Las and over almost two and a half miles at Carlisle. Still tethered by some immaturity in the finish last time, when third to Luccia, there’s an extra edge to be put on him yet, though this isn’t any easier an environment for him expressing it.

L’Eau Du Sud

Harry Skelton | D Skelton

Listed winner in France but the handicapper’s assessment has been accurate, enabling third in two well-contested handicaps last season. Had a wind operation prior to stopping quickly on his return in the Greatwood, and absent a further three months since, though clearly still some faith in him to be turning up here with Harry riding, nonetheless a hard horse to back with cash for now.

Our Champ

Freddie Gordon (5) | C Gordon

Aucunrisque’s all-the-way win last year for Chris Gordon is the paradigm for Our Champ but his spike upon joining the yard has maxed out since his mark has gone up to the mid-120s. Tongue tied now having undergone breathing surgery since a remote third to Aurigny Mill at Kempton.

Moveit Like Minnie

Finn Lambert (5) | N A Twiston-Davies

Plenty of miles on the clock but still pushing upwards and showed he belongs at this level now by his fourth to Luccia at Ascot, but benefited from much the same ride as the winner, and this is bigger and better still, probably beyond him.


Bryony Frost | W P Mullins

Trained by Willie Mullins, but the negatives outweigh that one positive considering his performances when twice coming to Britain in the autumn, nothing in them to say he’s up to this even if dropping in trip helps.


N F Houlihan | G L Moore

Lower in the handicap than when fourth in this last year but has voted with his feet the last twice and refused to race.

Ito Ditto

Sean Houlihan | Miss Martin

Likeable front-runner but the Chepstow novice he won on a wet Welsh National day rather fell apart around him and the upshot is he’s 15lb higher than when edged out in an Exeter handicap the time before. Biting off more than he can chew in all probability but his ability and attitude will propel him prominent for a long way.

Image: Ito Ditto's attitude will propel him prominently for a long way


James Davies | N J Hawke

Career is one of mild momentum, exactly what you want in a handicapper, and he was back to winning ways at Warwick last time after acquitting himself very well not once but twice at Cheltenham. Liable to be outclassed at this level but he’ll finish in the first half of the field.



W P Mullins | Brian Hayes

One of the rare Mullins inmates who’s not doing what he’s supposed to, running out (not for the first time) when favourite for the Greatwood, then lacking something again when an unthreatening sixth behind Luccia and others at Ascot, when just 4-1. The reality isn’t matching the marketing myth.

Jamie Lynch’s verdict

What a race. Handicap hurdles don’t get much better than this and there are so many ways to turn, from the handicap anomaly of Ocastle Des Mottes to the Grade 1 novice form brought by Lookaway and the been-there-done-that t-shirt worn by Iberico Lord from the Greatwood.

However, the way that AURIGNY MILL has won his last two races marks him out as both a rapid improver and one really well suited by the demands of a race like this, making him the value play for me.

Watch the Betfair Hurdle from Newbury live on Sky Sports Racing (Sky 415 | Virgin 519) on Saturday 10th February.

Sourse: skysports.com

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