The weights for the 2019 Betfair Hurdle (Saturday 9 February) have been announced and it’s time to take a look at who might join recent winners such as Kalashnikov, Ballyandy, Agrapart, My Tent Or Yours, and Zarkandar.
The Betfair Hurdle 10-year-trends throw up some useful pointers relating to age, rating, weight, number of runs, course form, trainer form, and odds, and these may shed some light on which horses may follow in similar footsteps.
Age Of Betfair Winners
If recent Betfair Hurdle trends are set to continue, the winner of the 2019 Betfair Hurdle will be aged either five or six. The last 10 winners have all fallen into that age range, with five five-year-olds and five six-year-olds being successful. Three of the last four winners have been five-year-olds.
The last 10 winners of the Betfair Hurdle have been rated between 124 and 151, whilst the second-highest rated winner in this period was rated 149. The 124-rated horse Wingman was a formerly decent flat horse that had the look of a well-handicapped hurdler if he could match those exploits over hurdles. The higher-rated pair of Zarkandar and My Tent Or Yours were highly-touted as potential future Champion Hurdle winners and both went close in future championship races at one or more Cheltenham Festivals.
The other seven winners in the last decade were all rated between 132 and 141, with six winners rated between 132 and 137.
Last year’s winner Kalashnikov carried the highest weight of 11-5 to victory in the last decade, but his rating of 141 was 10lb lower than Zakander who carried just 11-1 to victory, whilst Ballandy also carried 11-1 to victory but was rated just 135. Therefore, it’s obvious that much depends on how highly the best horse is rated. Six horses have also carried between 10-0 and 10-10 to victory.
Number Of Runs
Seven of the last 10 Betfair Hurdle winners were novices and five of those had run just three times over hurdles prior to their success in the Betfair Hurdle. One of the other novices had run four times, whilst the other had run six times.
The other three horses were all second-season hurdlers, with Zarkandar having run three times, Wingman eight times, and Splash Of Ginge 12 times.
Previous experience of Newbury is not a prerequisite to success in the Betfair Hurdle, as 2010 winner Get Me Out Of Here is the only winner in the last 10 renewals to have won a hurdle race at Newbury prior to his Betfair Hurdle win.
My Tent Or Yours and Violet Dancer had both run over hurdles at Newbury but both lost. The only other winner to have run at Newbury under National Hunt Rules was Ballyandy who won a bumper, whilst Wingman finished last on his only flat start at Newbury.
Nigel Twiston-Davies has trained two of the last five Betfair hurdle winners, whilst Gary Moore has trained two of the last 10 winners, though Moore has actually trained three in the last 11 years. Other trainers to have trained a winner include Amy Murphy, Paul Nicholls, Nick Williams, Jonjo O’Neill, John Quinn, and Nicky Henderson, with the latter winning the race five times in total.
If you’d backed the last 10 favourites to level stakes. You’d be showing a fair profit as Zarkander won at 11/4, My Tent Or Yours at 5/1, and Ballyandy at 3/1. Kalashnikov was also the 8/1 co-favourite last season.
However, the other six winners were sent-off at 6/1, 12/1, 14/1, 16/1, 20/1, and 33/1, so don’t be put off a horse at big odds if you can make a decent case for it.
Horses Worth Noting
The bookies have been quick to make Al Dancer favourite and he certainly looks a good stats-fit. The Nigel Twiston-Davies trained five-year-old is a novice that has had just three runs over hurdles and a mark of 141 is the same as last year’s winner Kalashnikov.
Paul Nicholls trained six-year-old novice hurdler who won his second and third starts over hurdles before finding only the useful Champ too good in a Grade 1 here at Newbury over a longer trip. Looked like he needed that far on that occasion but could be suited by a strong gallop at this trip.
JP McManus has owned two of the last nine winners of the Betfair Hurdle and it’s no surprise to see this Nick Gifford trained five-year-old near the front of the betting. He did disappoint last time at Kempton, but he could be well-handicapped on a mark of 139 in his first handicap. He’s also another novice with just three runs under his belt.
The name of Jayne Williams might not have been on the license when Agrapart won his Betfair Hurdle, but she was very much part of the winning formula. Now training under her own banner, she looks to have a live chance with this five-year-old. He is a second season novice with five runs under his belt, but the stable’s horses often rattle up a sequence when sent handicapping.
Betfair Hurdle 2019 Tip
Monsieur Lecoq could be a big danger to all if getting a run from near the foot of the weights but he does need quite a lot of horses to withdraw to be assured of a run, so maybe one to consider nearer the time. I also want to be against Getaway Trump whose best may come over longer trips.
That leaves us with the impeccable credentials of Al Dancer and Didtheyleaveuoutto. The latter is twice the price, but I certainly don’t think he’s got half the chance. If anything, this looks a highly-likely target for him as he may not be suited by the undulations at the Cheltenham Festival. A strong traveller with a useful turn-of-foot when on song, he should relish this test, especially if the ground rides on the good side.
Didtheyleaveuoutto @ 15.00 BetVictor, WilliamHill
(take the 3 places each way)