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Gifford hoping to extend family link with Betfair Hurdle

There are a total of 41 horses in contention for the race in two weeks

Liam Headd

Liam Headd

liam.headd@newburynews.co.uk

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01635 886629

Gifford hoping to extend family link with Betfair Hurdle

NICK Gifford is hoping the weather stays dry, so he can run Didtheyleaveuoutto in the £155,000 Betfair Hurdle at Newbury on February 9, for which 41 horses have stood their ground.

The Gifford family connection with Britain’s richest handicap hurdle stretches back to 1963 when his late father Josh rode the Ryan Price-trained Rosyth to land the inaugural running of the race.

It was the first of four wins in the saddle for Gifford snr, the most successful jockey in the race’s history, who remains the only person to win it as a trainer as well following the success of Deep Sensation in 1990.

“Obviously the family connection needs no introduction with the success of Dad and Ryan and Dad trained a winner of the race too,” said Gifford. “I don’t think I’ve ever had a runner in the Betfair Hurdle so it would be lovely to go there with a squeak if the ground allows us to do that.”

The J P McManus-owned Didtheyleaveuoutto is 10-1 third favourite behind Al Dancer (5-1) and Getaway Trump (6-1) with the sponsors after the latest acceptance stage for the Betfair Hurdle from which Mohaayed, Global Citizen, Western Ryder, Ballymoy and Grand Sancy were notable withdrawals.

As a result, We Have A Dream (11st 12lb) is at the top of the handicap with the weights having risen 1lb.

The novice Didtheyleaveuoutto has won two out of three starts over hurdles and finished fifth of six behind Mister Fisher at Kempton on Boxing Day.

Gifford, who trains in Findon, West Sussex, fears soft ground could prevent the horse running but said: “It will be down to J P McManus, Frank Berry and the team, but he has the entry and if the ground is suitable he will go. If the weather stays like this we will probably run him.

“The horse is in great form and I couldn’t be happier with him here. It appears he’s got a nice weight. I would love to run him, and it would tell us more come the spring which direction we should be heading in. It’s a lovely race for him. There will be plenty of pace, going left-handed will suit him slightly better and it would be a fantastic race to be involved with. I wasn’t born when Dad rode his winners, but I do remember Deep Sensation winning it.

“Didtheyleaveuoutto is still unexposed. He was a little bit disappointing at Kempton, make no mistake, but if he was a bit flat and he didn’t quite like the ground, trying to give 5lb to Mister Fisher, who has come out and won again, could have proved to have been an impossible task. I am hoping he was a bit flat and we’re better than that.”

Most betting interest continues to focus on the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Al Dancer and Getaway Trump, from the Paul Nicholls stable, who have been jostling for favouritism since the entries were released.

Betfair spokesman Barry Orr said: “Al Dancer and Getaway Trump have dominated the betting in recent days and punters preference is just for the former who’s now clear favourite at 5-1.

“We have also seen some each-way cash for Apple’s Shakira at 20-1 and she would be an interesting proposition if taking up this engagement.”

The Betfair Hurdle is part of Betfair Super Saturday which, aside from the Betfair Hurdle, also features the £50,000 G2 Betfair Denman Chase, a leading trial for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, and the £50,000 G2 Betfair Exchange Game Spirit Chase over an extended two miles.

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