Newbury’s Super Saturday (Super Sunday in 2021), which takes place in February, has a number of quality races but the most interesting for many will be the Betfair Hurdle, a valuable handicap run over 2 miles ½ furlong.
The first running of this race actually took place at Aintree in 1963, won by Rosyth who followed up the following year with a repeat victory. The previous winners of this race include two who have gone on to win the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham, Persian War and Make A Stand.
Next Race: TBD
The next renewal of this race has not been scheduled yet. We will update this once the schedule has been released for next season. The race info, trends and tips shown below will be updated for the next renewal once the final declarations have been made.
Last Run: 21st February 2021
- Winner: Soaring Glory
- SP: 17/2
- Trainer: Jonjo O'Neill
- Jockey: Jonjo O'Neill Jr
This is a 2m½f Grade 3 handicap hurdle which, thanks to the wonderful British weather, arrives one week later than advertised. We’re just glad to have it on at all though in truth. Invariably a big field affair, this contest is always a popular betting heat and offers £125,000 in total prize money, with the ground at the track currently described as good to soft.
|Going||Distance||Grade||Prize Money||Runners||EW Terms|
|Good to Soft||2m½f||Grade 3||£125,000||24 Runners||1/4 1-4|
Betfair Hurdle Betting Tips
Note: The following tips are from 2021. Tips for the next renewal will be added once the final declarations have been made.
Six-time Champion National Hunt Trainer Nicky Henderson may make more headlines for his exploits in the year’s major Grade 1 contests, but he does do pretty well in handicaps too, and it is he who leads the way in this event with five previous wins. Henderson sends three into battle this time around in the shape of the top-weight, Buzz, late addition to the field, Fred and the talented but quirky, Mister Coffey.
Open to all hurdlers aged four and older, it is those towards the lower end of the age spectrum who have dominated of late, with each of the past 10 winners being either five or six years of age.
Considering just how competitive this race is, the market leaders actually have an excellent recent record, with five of the past 10 editions being claimed by the favourite, or co-favourite - handing jolly backers a handsome profit of £10.25 to £1 level stakes over this period. Can the favourite deliver once again and if not, who might stop him?
|Cadzand||5/1||10st 12lbs||Dan Skelton||Harry Skelton|
|Soaring Glory||6/1||10st 7lbs||Jonjo O'Neill||Jonjo O'Neill Jr|
|Night Edition||66/1||10st 7lbs||David Pipe||Tom Scudamore|
Cadzand – 5/1
Dan Skelton’s Metier was well fancied by many to land this prize, but has instead become the most high profile absentee due to the rescheduling of the event. Skelton does however still have the favourite for the race, with his six year old Stowaway gelding, Cadzand, having now worked his way to the head of the market.
Making only his sixth career start overall, fourth over hurdles, and first in handicapping company, there has to be a chance that, if there is a well handicapped runner in this field, then it is this one. Purchased by Chelsea Thoroughbreds on the back of an impressive Point to Point success for Sophie Lacey, Cadzand then showed further promise in finishing placed in two bumper efforts last season before undergoing wind surgery ahead of his opening hurdles campaign.
Looking in need of the run when a well beaten second on his seasonal return at Ayr, he then made no mistake when winning as he liked in a Class 4 Novice event at Warwick. Sent into open handicapping company off a mark of 129 for his next start at Kempton, he was notably travelling best of all on the heels of the leaders two from home before swooping up the inside for a 3¼l success from the useful Christopher Wood. He is up 9lb for that, but goes on the ground, is clearly on an upwards trajectory, and seems unlikely to be far away.
Soaring Glory – 6/1
Next best in the market betting is the Jonjo O’Neill-trained, Soaring Glory, and on his overall balance of form, there’s plenty to like about the claims of this son of star flat stayer, Fame And Glory. At slightly longer odds than the jolly, he is sure to have supporters.
A winner of two of his three bumper outings last season, the mount of Jonjo O’Neill Jr. made his hurdles debut in a Class 4 event at Chepstow when getting up to score by ½l, despite being denied a clear run in the straight. That looked a solid enough effort at the time, but looks all the better now, with the second that day, Bravemansgame, winning each of his three subsequent starts, including a Grade 1 by a yawning 10 lengths.
Soaring Glory hasn’t yet gone on to hit anything like those heights, but in being beaten by the potentially very smart, Dusart, falling with the race at his mercy at Wetherby, and finishing a good third in a Grade 2 Supreme trial last time out, he has nevertheless maintained a high level of performance. What’s more, he may be pretty well in getting in here off a mark of 133.
Night Edition – 66/1
Whilst the market leaders do boast a solid record here, the race isn’t averse to a shock result every now and again, with two 33/1 shots coming home in the space of the past seven years. That stat suggests it is worth at least having a look at those further down the list, and if there is to be a boil over this year, the horse most likely to provide it for our money is the David Pipe-trained, Night Edition.
As a five year old this one is a good fit on the age trend, and his weight of 10st7lb also looks to be a positive, with seven of the past 10 winners having carried 11st2lb or less on the day. Admittedly a 34l defeat on his seasonal return at Ascot doesn’t immediately catch the eye, but it is reasonable to expect him to improve for what was his first run in 283 days.
If we go back to his final start last season, he begins to look a lot more interesting. That final outing in 2020 came over this course and distance in the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle where he ran a stormer to be beaten just a length into second by the Gordon Elliott horse Aramax. Running off 133 that day, he gets in off that same mark here and may well outrun those huge odds. With a number of firms offering extra places on this race, he rates a decent value each way option for sure.
Betfair Hurdle Winners
|2021||Soaring Glory||17/2||Jonjo O'Neill||Jonjo O'Neill Jr|
|2020||Pic D'Orhy||33/1||Paul Nicholls||Harry Cobden|
|2019*||Al Dancer||5/2||Nigel Twiston-Davies||Sam Twiston-Davies|
|2018||Kalashnikov||8/1||Amy Murphy||Jack Quinlan|
|2017||Ballyandy||3/1||Nigel Twiston-Davies||Sam Twiston-Davies|
|2016||Agrapart||16/1||Nick Williams||Lizzie Kelly|
|2015||Violet Dancer||20/1||Gary Moore||Joshua More|
|2014||Splash Of Ginge||33/1||Nigel Twiston-Davies||Ryan Hatch|
|2013||My Tent Or Yours||5/1||Nicky Henderson||A P McCoy|
|2012||Zarkandar||11/4||Paul Nicholls||Ruby Walsh|
*2019 race was run at Ascot due to Newbury abandonment as a result of an equine flu outbreak.
About the Betfair Hurdle: Super Saturday’s Big Handicap
The Grade 3 Betfair Hurdle is one of the most exciting handicaps in the lead up to the Cheltenham Festival. Horses who run well in this tend to go on to have a run at the Festival but with a healthy prize fund, and bags of history and kudos at play, this is a race that very much stands on its own merits.
An Inauspicious Start
Although the Betfair Hurdle is indelibly linked with Newbury, the first edition back in 1963 actually took place at Aintree. The first winner of the race, Rosyth, became embroiled in some real controversy after he successfully defended his title in 1964 when the race moved to Newbury. The racing authorities were suspicious that a horse could win twice and yet be unplaced four times in between. Jockey, Josh Gifford, was suspended and trainer, Ryan Price, warned off.
The pair would, however, combine for two more wins in 1966 and 1967, the latter race won by Hill House who failed a drugs test but was subsequently shown to be able to produce cortisol naturally. It wasn’t until 2013, one year after the race became known as the Betfair Hurdle, that Nicky Henderson became the first trainer to surpass Ryan Price’s four wins as My Tent Or Yours won with Tony McCoy on board.
Initially, the race was known as the Schweppes Gold Trophy due to that company’s backing. Schweppes maintained sponsorship as the race grew in stature before Tote took over in 1986. That prompted a change of name to the Tote Gold Trophy (latterly the totesport Trophy) until 2011. From 2012 to 2020 (and counting) the race has taken on the present name.
Betfair Hurdle Title Changes: 1963 – 2020
|Race Name||Sponsor||Year From||Year To|
|Betfair Hurdle||Betfair Bookmakers||2012||Present|
|Totesport Trophy||Tote Bookmakers||2005||2011|
|Tote Gold Trophy||1987||2004|
|Schweppes Gold Trophy||Schweppes Beverages||1963||1986|
Cheltenham Winners a Rarity
The talk after My Tent Or Yours’ win in 2013 was all about him going on to race in the Champion Hurdle, one of the four feature races at Cheltenham. However, caution prevailed and he stayed in novice company before tackling the Champion the following year. My Tent Or Yours ran into one too good on three separate occasions in the big hurdle at Cheltenham so was unable to join Persian War and Make A Stand as winners of both races.
The Supreme Novices’ Hurdle is actually the most common path for winners of the Betfair Hurdle to take. That’s because this is a contest in which a number of novice hurdlers are tested out against open company. Whatever choice connections make, it is rare for a horse to go from the Betfair Hurdle to victory at Cheltenham, although most winners at Newbury do at least try to claim glory at the Cotswolds extravaganza.
Betfair Hurdle Winners at Cheltenham: 2010 – 2020
|Year||Betfair Hurdle Winner||Result at Cheltenham Festival|
|2020||Pic D’Orhy (33/1)||Did Not Run|
|2019||Al Dancer (5/2 Favourite)||10th – Supreme Novices’ Hurdle|
|2018||Kalashnikov (8/1 Joint Favourite)||2nd – Supreme Novices’ Hurdle|
|2017||Ballyandy (3/1 Favourite)||4th – Supreme Novices’ Hurdle|
|2016||Agrapart (16/1)||Did Not Run|
|2015||Violet Dancer (20/1)||10th – County Handicap Hurdle|
|2014||Splash Of Ginge (33/1)||15th – Supreme Novices’ Hurdle|
|2013||My Tent Or Yours (5/1 Favourite)||2nd – Supreme Novices’ Hurdle|
|2012||Zarkandar (11/4 Favourite)||5th – Champion Hurdle|
|2011||Recession Proof (12/1)||5th – Supreme Novices’ Hurdle|
|2010||Get Me Out Of Here (6/1)||2nd – Supreme Novices’ Hurdle|
A Potentially Lucrative Prize
Winners of the Betfair Hurdle may not win many races at the Cheltenham Festival, at least not following on from their initial success, but as the above table shows, many end up in the places. That is quite impressive for a handicap race which has a knack of providing long odds winners.
It’s very much a mixed bag in terms of odds of Betfair Hurdle winners. Between 2010 and 2020 five horses won who were either the favourite or joint favourite. The other six winners went in at 6/1, 12/1, 16/1, 20/1 and 33/1 twice. It’s little surprise that the winning favourites have had a better Cheltenham record than the longer priced horses.
Connections aren’t just enthused by this as a warm up race though. There is also a handsome £100,000 bonus for horses who win both the Betfair Exchange Trophy and the Betfair Hurdle. That’s on top of a prize fund which reached £155,000 in 2020, making this very lucrative for a Grade 3 contest.