Trends Preview and Free Betting Tips for the Betfair Hurdle – The renewal of the Betfair Hurdle this Saturday at Newbury looks to be one of the most competitive handicap hurdle races this season with 22 top quality horses lining-up. This race looks to be ultra-competitive with the main National Hunt trainers sending over a number of runners in an attempt to plunder the £150,000 prize fund. Recently the race has been used as a stepping stone for horses such as Zarkandar and My Tent Or Yours who won the race before going on to feature at the Festival. Here's a look at the most relevant trends and my best bet.
9 out of the last 10 winners have won at least two hurdle races previously
8 out of the last 10 winners were placed last time out, with 6 having won
8 out of the last 10 winners carried 11st 2lb or less
7 out of the last 10 winners were aged either 5 or 6
7 out of the last 10 winners were rated between a mark of 124 & 144
3 out of the last 10 winners were winning favourites
Paul Nicholls sends two runners in the shape of Irish Saint (6/1 bet365) and Far West (12/1 Ladbrokes) who have both impressed as novices in previous years. Irish Saint won a decent race last time out and was very impressive in doing so but this looks a much tougher assignment and it has been a long time since a horse has won off a racing weight as high as 11st 8lb. The same can also be said for Far West who has disappointed since being beaten at last year’s Cheltenham festival and for a horse who hasn’t won recently to come into such a tough race carrying a lot of weight it seems a tough ask.
Nicky Henderson is triple handed with Rolling Star (11/1 Stan James), Gibb River (25/1 BetVictor) and Vasco Du Ronceray (33/1 Stan James). The main market focus is clearly on Rolling Star as Gibb River and Vasco Du Ronceray both need to improve on their respective previous form to make a real impact in this race. Rolling Star is well fancied by connections to run a big race but he may well struggle off a big weight in heavy ground. No horse has won this race off 11st 12lb and I highly doubt that will change after Saturday afternoon.
David Pipe and Alan King also send two runners a piece and all four look to have chances. Dell Arca (7/1 William Hill) won a good Greatwood Hurdle but is still an unknown and could prove to be anything whereas Swing Bowler (20/1 Stan James) is the opposite as his third place finish in this race last year reads very well. Vendor (12/1 BetVictor) finally hit form for Alan King last time out, but he looks to be disadvantaged by the conditions with the ground too heavy for his liking and opposition too tough. Montbazon (25/1 William Hill) like Swing Bowler is coming back from a long break but could feature if he reproduces the form he showed when finishing fourth in the Supreme Novices of 2012.
Other well fancied horses include former Champion Bumper winner Cheltenian (9/1 Coral) who won very impressively on return. Despite that, this race may well have come too soon and it’s not very often an 8yo claims this prize. Alaivan (14/1 Ladbrokes) has been heavily gambled on recently for Jonjo O’ Neill but with McCoy elsewhere and previous form not really catching the eye it is tough to fancy this horse. Smashing (12/1 Coral) is an unknown quantity for the Willie Mullins yard and the horses he sends over always warrant respect especially with good quality Irish form, nevertheless he is best watched for now. Chris Pea Green (25/1 Stan James) is another who can’t be ruled out for shrewd trainer Gary Moore who has won this prize twice before with horses at big odds and Totalize has also shown form worthy of running a big race here.
The one outsider which does make a lot of appeal is DEEP TROUBLE (22/1 Stan James), the horse has been extremely consistent and never finished outside of the top two. Earlier in the season the horse finished up close to a top Irish horse in Quick Jack and then won a good hurdle race after that. This is definitely a step up in class but I feel that the horse looks progressive enough to be able to show the necessary improvement at a reasonable price.
In what looks to be a hugely competative affair with nearly all of the field having claims, DEEP TROUBLE should give a good run for your money at double figure odds and hopefully will be battling away at the end. If Swing Bowler or Montbazon return to the form they showed prior to their respective breaks then they should also be involved. In terms of a selection of those near the head of the market I would consider Smashing, who’s Irish form looks good and may prove tough to beat.
DEEP TROUBLE (E/W) (22/1 Stan James)
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