The Newbury Betfair Hurdle run in mid February is one of the most valuable handicaps in the calendar.
Betfair Hurdle Trends
7 of the last 12 winners won last time out
The last 12 winners had previously won a hurdle race with more than 11 runners
The last 10 winners were aged 5 and 6
10 of the last 12 were first or second season hurdlers
Gary Moore has trained 2 of last 7 winners
No Irish trained winner since 2005
Betfair Hurdle Winners 2005-2014
Betfair Hurdle Odds 2015
Calipto (6), Activial (8), Fascino Rustico (14), Sign Of A Victory (14), Snake Eyes (14), Balgarry (16), Blair Perrone (16), Jollys Cracked It (16), Pine Creek (16), Seedling (16), Aso (20), Baradari (20), Chieftains Choice (20), Karezak (20), Lucky Bridle (20), On Tour (20), Ballybolley (25), Dawalan (25), Ebony Express (25), Garde Le Victoire (25) , Goodwood Mirage (25), Hawk High (25), Hello George (25), Laser Hawk (25), Vasco Du Ronceray (25), Wicklow Brave (25), Amore Alato (33), Arzal (33), Bordoni (33), Cheltenian (33), Daneking (33), Gassin Golf (33), Get Me Out Of Here (33), Lightentertainment (33), Mijhaar (33), Minella Present (33), Royal Irish Hussar (33), Sea Lord (33), Sleepy Haven (33), Violet Dancer (33), Ballyglasheen (40), Cinders And Ashes (40), Forced Family Fun (40), Starluck (40), Swing Bowler (40), War Singer (50)
The Betfair Hurdle was first staged in 1963.
The inaugural race was run as part of the Grand National Meeting at Aintree and went to the 20/1 shot Rosyth, trained by Ryan Price and ridden by Josh Gifford.
The race moved to Newbury in 1964 and has remained there ever since.
Betfair is only the third sponsor of the race. Schweppes backed the contest from 1963 to 1986. The Tote under various guises was the sponsor between 1987 and 2011. Betfair took over the sponsorship in 2012.
The Betfair Hurdle is Britain’s richest handicap hurdle with a prize fund of £155,000. It is run over a distance of two miles and 110 yards.
Rosyth, who won the first staging at Aintree in 1963, also won the first running at Newbury and remains the only back-to-back winner.
Geos is the only other dual winner, scoring in 2000 and 2004.
The early years were dominated by Ryan Price, who won four of the first five renewals.
Nicky Henderson equalled Price’s haul when Geos scored for a second time in 2004 and he became the most successful trainer ever in the race when My Tent Or Yours gave him a fifth success in 2013. Henderson’s other three winners were Sharpical (1998), Geos (2000) and Landing Light (2001).
The only other current trainer to have won the race more than once is Gary Moore, who recorded back-to-back wins in 2007 and 2008 with Heathcote and Wingman.
There have been four Irish-trained winners – Good Review (1972), Irish Fashion (1976), Spirit Leader (2003) and Essex (2005).
Josh Gifford, who partnered all of Ryan Price’s winners, has been the most successful jockey in the Betfair Hurdle with four victories – Rosyth (1963 & 1964), Le Vermontois (1966) and Hill House (1967).
Gifford also became the only winning jockey to have subsequently trained the winner (Deep Sensation in 1990).
A P McCoy is the most successful current jockey, with three victories – Copeland (2002), Get Me Out Of Here (2010) and My Tent Or Yours (2013).
Jamie Moore is the only other currently-licensed jockey to have won the race more than once, scoring on Heathcote (2007) and Wingman (2008).
Favourites have a poor record in the Betfair Hurdle.
In the 41 runnings to date, just seven favourites have prevailed (17 per cent). The most recent winning favourite was My Tent Or Yours at 5/1 in 2013.
The biggest shock was 50/1 shot Heathcote in 2007, while Cala Mesquida (1971) and Splash Of Ginge (2014) were both 33/1 chances.
The breakdown of winners by age is:
5yo – 13
6yo – 16
7yo – 9
8yo – 2
9yo – 1
Triple Champion Hurdle scorer Persian War carried the biggest weight ever to victory in the Betfair Hurdle when shouldering 11st 13lb in 1968.
At the other end of the spectrum, six winners have carried the minimum weight of 10st, the most recent being Wingman in 2008.
The biggest ever field was 41 for the first running at Aintree in 1963. At Newbury, the most runners to have ever lined up was 33 in 1968. The current safety limit is 24.
The smallest field was eight in 1995, when the ground was heavy.
Betfair Hurdle & Champion Hurdle
Two horses have completed the Betfair Hurdle-Champion Hurdle double.
Persian War (1968) and Make A Stand (1997) both won at Newbury in the same season as their Cheltenham success. Persian War went on to win the Champion Hurdle again in 1969 and 1970.
Two mares have won, Mysilv (1995) and Spirit Leader (2003).
Did You Know?
There was a Royal success in 1975 when Tammuz, owned by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, beat 27 rivals at 18/1.
Tammuz, a gift from Her Majesty The Queen, prevailed by a half a length.