Market leader Lalor handed 10st 6lb as weights revealed for Betfair Hurdle at Newbury

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The  weights awere unveiled today for the £155,000 G3 Betfair Hurdle, Britain’s richest handicap hurdle, run at Newbury Racecourse on Betfair Super Saturday, February 10, 2018, and top weight, is Defi Du Seuil (Philip Hobbs, 11st 12lb, 14/1 with Betfair), who went through last season unbeaten in seven starts, – including G1 victories at the Cheltenham and Aintree Festivals.
The J P McManus-owned five-year-old disappointed on his only start so far in the current campaign, when fourth in the G2 Ascot Hurdle in November. Hobbs recently reported that Defi Du Seuil scoped badly after his run at Ascot but is now back on track.
Betfair’s 9/1 favourite is Lalor (Richard Woollacott, 10st 6lb). A top-class bumper performer last season, when successful in G2 company at Aintree, the six-year-old has yet to win in three starts over hurdles but has placed in three very strong novices’ contests.
He was runner-up on his latest start at Cheltenham on December 15, when he had subsequent G1 Tolworth Hurdle victor Summerville Boy behind him in third.
Woollacott, who is based in Devon, commented: “All is good with Lalor. He is pleasing us and going nicely. We are looking forward to Newbury with him.
“He has a nice weight for the Betfair Hurdle. I said at the start of the year, we would like him to be rated between 133 and 137, and that is where we at the moment (Lalor has an official BHA rating of 137).
“Everything has gone to plan and it’s just a question now of whether we are good enough. We wouldn’t want really heavy ground – that would probably be our biggest worry.
“He has a similar profile to Ballyandy who won the race last year and that is why I said at the beginning of the season that if we are going to be good enough for the Supreme or the Ballymore at Cheltenham (in March), we need to be rated 150 and the Betfair Hurdle is a good test along the way. If Cheltenham comes too quick, then we could always wait for Aintree.
“If we are not good enough, then we are not good enough. With the wonderful prize money on offer for the Betfair Hurdle, it’s certainly worth trying for.”
Also prominent in the ante-post market with Betfair is Kayf Grace (10st 9lb, 10/1), one of nine entries for Nicky Henderson, who has saddled a record five winners of the Betfair Hurdle.
Kayf Grace, a G2 bumper winner back in 2016, was an eye-catching winner at Kempton Park over Christmas. If successful on February 10, she would become only the third mare to win the Betfair Hurdle after Mysilv (1995) and Spirit Leader (2003).
The entries from Seven Barrows also include Lough Derg Spirit (10st 7lb, 10/1), second in the G2 Elite Hurdle at Wincanton last time out, and Diese Des Bieffes (10st 6lb, 12/1), a close fifth to stablemate William Henry (11st 6lb, 14/1) in the Listed Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle at Kempton Park last weekend.
Call Me Lord (11st 7lb, 14/1) scored impressively at Sandown Park on January 6, while Jenkins (10st 12lb, 14/1) got back to winning ways at Kempton Park on January 13.
Other leading contenders include Lostintranslation (Colin Tizzard, 10st 3lb, 12/1), winner over the course and distance last time out in a novices’ hurdle on December 1, and Silver Streak (Evan Williams, 10st 2lb, 12/1), who was runner-up in a G3 contest at Ascot on December 23.
High Bridge (Ben Pauling, 11st 3lb, 14/1) is unbeaten in three starts over hurdles at Newbury including on his latest appearance on December 2, while Elgin (Alan King, 11st 6lb) has already scooped valuable prizes at Ascot and Cheltenham so far this season.
Gary Moore, successful three times in the Betfair Hurdle, has two entries headed by Knocknanuss (10st 4lb, 16/1). The eight-year-old was impressive when landing a handicap hurdle under top weight at Fontwell on Boxing Day.
The 11 Irish-trained entries include Bleu Et Rouge (Willie Mullins, 11st 1lb, 14/1), fourth at Ascot on December 23, and Campeador (Gordon Elliott, 11st 6lb, 20/1), who was third in a G1 contest at Leopardstown over Christmas.
There is a scratchings’ deadline for the Betfair Hurdle on Tuesday, January 23, details of which will be revealed on Wednesday, January 24.
Betfair spokesman, Barry Orr, commented today: “As at the entry stage, Lalor heads the betting but Lough Derg Spirit has attracted support in recent days and is now 10/1 from 14/1 while the Gary Moore-trained Knocknanuss is into 16/1 from 25/1.
“Gary has won the race three times and, at this stage, his charge is the one we are most fearful of.”
The other highlights on Betfair Super Saturday are the £50,000 G2 Betfair Denman Chase, a leading trial for the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the £50,000 G2 Betfair Exchange Chase over an extended two miles, won by the Nicky Henderson-trained superstars Sprinter Sacre and Altior in recent years.
Last year’s winner Native River (Colin Tizzard), King George VI Chase winner Might Bite (Nicky Henderson) are both possible starters in the Betfair Denman Chase while connections have revealed that Politologue (Paul Nicholls) is being aimed at the Betfair Exchange Chase.
Betfair Hurdle, Betfair bet:
9/1 Lalor; 10/1 Kayf Grace, Lough Derg Spirit; 12/1 Diese Des Bieffes, Lostintranslation, Silver Streak; 14/1 Bleu Et Rouge, Call Me Lord, Defi Du Seuil, High Bridge, Jenkins, Kalashnikov, William Henry; 16/1 Charli Parcs, Elgin, Knocknanuss, Misterton, Pingshou, Poppy Kay, Verdana Blue; 20/1 Campeador, Coeur Blimey, Irish Roe, Lagostovegas, Moon Racer, William H Bonney; 25/1 Ben Dundee, Cliffs of Dover, Dame Rose, Divin Bere, Dolciano Dici, Duca De Thaix, Magic Dancer, Meri Devie, Mont Des Avaloirs, Spiritofthegames, Waterlord, Wishfull Dreaming; 33/1 Charming Zen, Chti Balko, Irving, Karalee, Master of Irony, Mister Miyagi, Nietzsche, Night of Sin, Project Bluebook, Remiluc, Sandsend, Veinard, Voix Du Reve; 40/1 Gwafa, Zalvados; 50/1 El Terremoto; 66/1 Bidourey, Birch Hill, Man Of Plenty, Maquisard
EW Terms:  1/4 Odds – 4 Places

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