No surprise to see a decent field for Newbury’s Betfair Hurdle being in one of the richest hurdle races going with over £150,000 in prize money on offer.
We mentioned in our blog earlier this week that it looks like BetVictor are most generous when studying the early morning prices, well today they’re paying ¼ odds five places on the race.
Favourite is Willie Mullins Irish raider Blazer who was an impressive winner of a Leopardstown handicap last weekend and he looks well handicapped with just 5lbs penalty for that ‘easy win’. However at a best 4/1, represents little value with several notables to consider at better odds in such a competitive event.
Jockey Barry Gerraghty commented on last weeks win…
“He enjoyed conditions and Blazer won well. It just may not have been that good a race. The form may not be very strong.
Modus has won two of his three starts over timber including over C&D back in November and a runner up in a bumper at Cheltenham last March. Paul Nicholls won this back in 2012 with Zarkandar but we keep questioning the stable at the moment and pass over at a best 9/1.
War Sound has been off since May after winning the Swinton Hurdle at Haydock and this will be a priming run for next month’s Champion Hurdle with conditional claimer Ciaran Gethings taking off 5lbs. Again he’s easy to passover in terms of value, though with stablemate Sternrubin in the field should see a truly run race.
Richard Johnson rides that one and there is a lot to like about him, though up 8lb for his Gerry Fielden and dead heat last month has it all to do and will be up there or setting the pace from the off.
His LTO dead-heat with Jolly’s Cracked It for the Ladbroke Hurdle at Ascot was amazing after heading the supposed ‘pace-setter’ after the first circuit. It was a really fast run race and given he also posted a fast time on seasonal debut he’s our pick in the 0-10’s priced market.
Let’s look at some of those outside the leading quartet for value…..
Baby King goes well under these conditions and is an out and out stayer….as we said above, with Stenrubin in the field a true run race could well suit him at a best priced 25’s.
Mad Jack Mytton looks a progressive sort but an unknown quantity on the going and looks more of a ‘spring-time’ sort, so we will keep an eye on that one over the next couple of months as the ground dries.
Matorico should give a good run for the money at decent price after showing promise as a staying on 4th on Boxing Day at Kempton. He’s a lightly raced individual who will be worth following through the spring campaign who sports first-time blinkers today. He clouted the last that day when looking a potential winner but up just 3lb for that, his first handicap, is well weighted for a tilt.
However we just side with a lesser fancied Mullins runner in KALKIR (pictured above) who is unexposed and a former Grade 1 class performer who put in an excellent shift after a lay-off when 2nd LTO at Leopardstown last month. He’s 4 places/wins from 5 outings over hurdles and despite coming done 3lb for his next race, claimer David Mullins offsets that and after just after handful of starts could still be under the radar at between 16’s and 20’s he just gets the nod over Sternrubin.
KALKIR each-way 20/1 in the Betfair Hurdle with BetVictor
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