Betfair Hurdle
Grade 3 Handicap, Newbury
£152,500 added,
4yo plus,
2m 110y, Class 1  
Saturday 7th February 2015

Jan 21 Ante-post favourite Calipto, a 5/1 chance with Betfair Sportsbook, headlines 46 confirmations, revealed today, for the £155,000 Grade Three Betfair Hurdle over an extended two miles at Newbury on Betfair Super Saturday, February 7.

© Racehorse Photos

The Paul Nicholls-trained five-year-old could emulate the champion trainer's Zarkandar, who successfully defied an absence when capturing the 2012 Betfair Hurdle. Calipto has not been seen on a racecourse since finishing second to Tiger Roll in an intermediate hurdle at Cheltenham in October.

Activial (Harry Fry) is next best in the betting for Britain's richest handicap hurdle at 10/1 after an encouraging third on his reappearance in the Ladbroke Hurdle at Ascot in December. He could be joined by stablemate Jolly's Cracked It (16/1), who was second to L'Ami Serge in the Grade One Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown earlier this month.

Snake Eyes
© Racehorse Photos
Snake Eyes

Nicky Henderson, going for his sixth Betfair Hurdle, has whittled down his nine initial entries to five, headed by Christmas Hurdle fourth Sign Of A Victory (14/1) and Snake Eyes (12/1), who finished 10th in a valuable handicap hurdle at Leopardstown on Sunday (January 18). The quintet is completed by the Simon Munir and Isaac Souede-owned pair of Dawalan (20/1) and Vasco Du Ronceray (20/1), who both scored last time out, plus Royal Irish Hussar (20/1).

Wicklow Brave
© Caroline Norris
Wicklow Brave

There are four Irish-trained acceptors, including three from the stable of champion trainer Willie Mullins. The Closutton handler has confirmed Wicklow Brave (16/1), who was a classy novice last season, Lucky Bridle (20/1) and Daneking (14/1).

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Tony Martin has left in Blair Perrone (16/1) on the back of a fifth to Douvan in the Grade Two Moscow Flyer Novices' Hurdle at Punchestown on January 10.

Blair Perrone
© Caroline Norris
Blair Perrone

The six-year-old previously accounted for last season's Champion Bumper hero Silver Concorde in a two-mile maiden hurdle at Leopardstown on December 27, scoring decisively by two lengths.

Martin revealed: "The Betfair Hurdle is an option for Blair Perrone.

"The intention is to run him somewhere at around that time but it's too early to say whether that will be at Newbury or in a novices' hurdle at Leopardstown. We will probably know more in a week or so.

"We are happy enough with him at the moment. He has come out of Punchestown well and will have learnt a good bit from that as it was only his fifth run.

"He has always shown himself to be a fair horse and we were very happy with him at Leopardstown."

Blair Perrone could bid to continue the good record of novices, who have won four of the last five renewals of the Betfair Hurdle courtesy of Splash Of Ginge (2014), My Tent Or Yours (2013), Recession Proof (2011) and Get Me Out Of Here (25/1) (2010).

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Fascino Rustico (12/1) may line up after making an impressive debut for trainer Dan Skelton in a novices' hurdle at Bangor on January 6, while Warren Greatrex is likely to saddle Seedling (16/1), who is three from three over hurdles this season.

© Racehorse Photos

Other notables include potential top-weight Garde La Victoire (Philip Hobbs, 16/1), recent Grade Two scorer Aso (Venetia Williams, 16/1) and the consistent Pine Creek (14/1), who is one of four confirmations for in-form Newmarket handler John Ferguson.

Newbury's Betfair Super Saturday also features the £50,000 Grade Two Betfair Denman Chase, a leading trial for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, and the £50,000 Grade Two Betfair Price Rush Chase over two miles and a furlong.

Betfair Spokesman Barry Orr commented today: "Having initially been 14/1 when betting opened the Paul Nicholls trained Calipto continues to attract strong support and is now half the price of his nearest pursuer in the betting at 5/1.

"Nicholls has his team in flying form and novices have a great record in the race, the yards 2012 winner Zarkandar, had a similar profile to Calipto, so market confidence is justifiably high and he could go off even shorter on the day."

Betfair Hurdle (Handicap) (Grade 3)
£155,000 added, 4yo plus, 2m 110y, Class 1
46 remaining entries
Going: N/A

Horse Age Weight Trainer
GARDE LA VICTOIRE (FR) 6 11-12 Philip Hobbs
GET ME OUT OF HERE (IRE) 11 11-09 Jonjo O'Neill
SIGN OF A VICTORY (IRE) 6 11-07 Nicky Henderson
HAWK HIGH (IRE) 5 11-04 Tim Easterby
SEA LORD (IRE) 8 11-04 John Ferguson
CINDERS AND ASHES 8 11-03 Donald McCain
SEEDLING 6 11-02 Warren Greatrex
PINE CREEK 7 11-02 John Ferguson
VASCO DU RONCERAY (FR) 6 11-01 Nicky Henderson
CALIPTO (FR) 5 11-01 Paul Nicholls
ACTIVIAL (FR) 5 11-01 Harry Fry
LUCKY BRIDLE (IRE) 6 11-00 Willie Mullins IRE
DAWALAN (FR) 5 11-00 Nicky Henderson
GOODWOOD MIRAGE (IRE) 5 11-00 Jonjo O'Neill
ROYAL IRISH HUSSAR (IRE) 5 11-00 Nicky Henderson
SLEEPY HAVEN (IRE) 5 11-00 Jennie Candlish
CHELTENIAN (FR) 9 10-13 Philip Hobbs
BALLYGLASHEEN (IRE) 5 10-13 Evan Williams
JOLLY'S CRACKED IT (FR) 6 10-12 Harry Fry
STARLUCK (IRE) 10 10-12 David Arbuthnot
AMORE ALATO 6 10-12 Nick Williams
WICKLOW BRAVE 6 10-12 Willie Mullins IRE
MIJHAAR 7 10-12 John Ferguson
ARZAL (FR) 5 10-11 Harry Whittington
BLAIR PERRONE (IRE) 6 10-10 Tony Martin IRE
BORDONI (USA) 6 10-10 John Ferguson
ASO (FR) 5 10-10 Venetia Williams
DANEKING 6 10-10 Willie Mullins IRE
ON TOUR (IRE) 7 10-10 Evan Williams
MINELLA PRESENT (IRE) 6 10-10 Neil Mulholland
BALGARRY (FR) 8 10-09 David Pipe
LASER HAWK (IRE) 8 10-07 Evan Williams
SWING BOWLER 8 10-07 David Pipe
CHIEFTAIN'S CHOICE (IRE) 6 10-06 John Quinn
FORCED FAMILY FUN 5 10-06 John Quinn
EBONY EXPRESS 6 10-06 Dr Richard Newland
BARADARI (IRE) 5 10-05 Venetia Williams
VIOLET DANCER 5 10-04 Gary Moore
GASSIN GOLF 6 10-04 Richard Lee
KAREZAK (IRE) 4 10-04 Alan King
BALLYBOLLEY (IRE) 6 10-03 Nigel Twiston-Davies
FASCINO RUSTICO 7 10-02 Dan Skelton
SNAKE EYES (IRE) 7 10-00 Nicky Henderson
WAR SINGER (USA) 8 10-00 Johnny Farrelly
HELLO GEORGE (IRE) 6 10-00 Philip Hobbs

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