Wed, 20 Jan 2021
A TOTAL of 41 entries remain on course for Britain’s richest handicap hurdle, the Grade 3 Betfair Hurdle on Saturday, February 13.
Following the most recent scratchings stage, Ballyandy heads the weights on 11st 12 with Metier, the current favourite with sponsors Betfair allocated 11st 4, whilst Buzz, one of four left in the race for Nicky Henderson, will carry 11st 7.
Finishing closest to Metier in the Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown was the exciting Shakem Up’arry, whose two runs at Newbury have both seen him finish second.
Trainer Ben Pauling is hoping the Harry Redknapp-owned seven-year-old can go one better if he turns up in the Betfair Hurdle.
Pauling commented: "Shakem Up’arry came out of Sandown in really great form. He seemed to particularly enjoy the soft, heavy ground that day.
"If it remains that sort of ground conditions for the Betfair Hurdle, it’s a strong possibility we would run him and be hopeful. If it were good ground it would be much less likely."
Also on target for the race is the exciting For Pleasure, who was last seen winning in emphatic style at Cheltenham in November, and is currently 18/1 with the sponsors, off a weight of 11st.
Trainer Alex Hales said: "He’s on target at the moment. Our plan was always to have a break after Cheltenham in November and then to head to the Betfair Hurdle.
"He has been going well at home and the break seems to have freshened him up. Harry (Bannister) has struck up a great relationship with him so will be back on board."
The Betfair Hurdle will be run at the value of £125,000 for 2021, showing the generous support of Betfair as sponsors, who also support the remaining six races on the card, including the Grade 2 Betfair Denman Chase and the Grade 2 Win Bigger on the Betfair Exchange Chase (Registered as the Game Spirit).
Betfair spokesman, Barry Orr, commented today: "41 stand their ground and Metier remains a strong favourite, but we have seen some money for recent two recent winners.
"Sky Pirate, who landed a novice chase in Warwick last Saturday and could exploit a handicap hurdle mark of 140, he is 12/1 from 16/1. While Edwardstone, an impressive winner in Market Rasen on the same day, is 12/1 from 20/1.
"With a prize fund of £125,000 I expect another full complement of runners again this year."