It is Betfair Hurdle day at Newbury today and the 24-runner handicap is the feature race.
The contest, over the extended two miles at the Berkshire course, typically goes to a progressive type with a fair bit in hand from a handicapping perspective – and we have picked out two entrants that fit the bill
There is a stacked field to dissect the form of and our expert takes you through Saturday’s big race.
Betfair Hurdle – Newbury, 3.15pm
Betfair Hurdle tips
The above odds are correct at the time of publishing and subject to change.
Henderson fields a strong team for the feature
Four charges of Nicky Henderson make a very powerful presence for the Lambourn trainer.
Doddiethegreat is going the right way but he looked like he may want a step up in trip when runner-up at Cheltenham last time, Luccia tops the weights after her Ascot success in December, while another mare, Under Control, is interesting after a big run in a mares’ Grade 2 contest at Doncaster last time.
However, the other JP McManus runner, IBERICO LORD, is marginally preferred to his three stablemates. Henderson’s French recruit has really got his act together in the past 12 months after a slow start to British racing.
Iberico Lord appeared to relish heavy ground when winning at Stratford towards the back end of last season before finishing half a length behind Under Control off level weights at Sandown, but he is now 3lb better off with the mare.
The son of Cokoriko took his form to a new level in the Grade 3 Greatwood Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham on his return in November and it just did not look like Ascot was his track when failing to back up his Prestbury Park effort on his previous outing.
The ground was also too quick for him that day and he should relish getting back on a testing surface at the Berkshire course. He should arguably be favourite for this contest as there’s almost certainly more to come from this lightly raced six-year-old.
The slightly shorter distance of this race compared with the Blue Riband should also be in his favour and that Haydock win is decent form, stronger than what Stay Away Fay has achieved or the Coral Gold Cup win of Datsalrightgino.
This strong-travelling sort can sit off the pace and creep into the race and his hardened nature will serve him well when they turn for home. This looks a good spot for him to record a Cheltenham win.
Selection: Iberico Lord @ 13/2 with Betfair
Fry bids for first Betfair Hurdle win with an improver
This race often goes to an improving sort and another one of those that can feature is the progressive ALTOBELLI.
He won each of his first three starts under Rules and has been getting back to his best with a couple of placed efforts in valuable handicap hurdles at Ascot since. The lightly raced six-year-old gives the impression that this more galloping track will suit on just his seventh career start.
The one thing he has to prove is his ability to handle very testing ground, given that he is yet to run on going worse than soft, but his pedigree gives hope in that regard. His dam was a winner in Germany and his dam’s sire won a Group 1 contest on very soft ground.
His own sire, Maxios, also gets plenty of soft and heavy ground winners – so if he handles the conditions here, he should be capable of outrunning his odds for a trainer that has been in reasonably good form since the turn of the year.
Next best: Altobelli @ 15/2 with Betfair
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