The £155,000 Betfair Hurdle has attracted it’s joint-smallest field since the current sponsor took over the race. In all fairness, the 14 runners due to line up have still provided us with a tough handicapping quest which makes punting just has hard as ever.
We could have given the highlights of every runner in this race, but have just about managed to narrow the field down to these six good-looking contenders.
Harry Fry elected not to run stable star Metier in this contest due to his need for softer ground, but he remains in with a big chance of landing the money with Boothill.
The seven-year-old is lightly raced. He won a bumper in good style at Kempton back in February 2020 before easily landing his first two hurdle races.
Back in October, Boothill was part of a key piece of form for this race when running a fine third behind Soaring Glory in a tough Listed handicap hurdle at Ascot and he’s expected to kick on from that.
He was sent chasing last time, but didn’t take to it too well and apparently came back a little sore. If fully recovered, we can expect his improvement to have continued over the smaller obstacles, making him well handicapped.
Very well backed over the last few days, Broomfield Burg represents the crack connections of JP McManus, Nicky Henderson and Nico de Boinville.
He’s on our list on merit, having gone 1221 over hurdles so far. He was a very easy winner of a novice race at Kempton last time out and could be anything, though it’s not all positive.
The form of his easy win hasn’t worked out overly impressively, while before that he was beaten fair and square at Cheltenham by Lively Citizen in a handicap and he’s 4lbs higher in the weights now.
A winner of two of his four hurdles so far, and second in Grade 1 company last time to boot, Jetoile still has improvement to come on this better ground.
Though a second to Constitution Hill reads well anyway, we’d argue that he didn’t improve from his novice win to the Tolworth, probably owing to conditions being too soft.
Now he has drier ground, we should expect him to take a big step forward and he is very much in this for trainer Ryan Potter and jockey Lorcan Williams.
A hurdling debut winner, second in a Cheltenham novice and an easy scorer at Taunton last time, Jpr One has plenty going for him and has been backed to near favouritism alongside Broomfield Burg going into the weekend.
Colin Tizzard’s runner has done precious little wrong so far, is only five years old and is expected by many to be significantly ahead of the handicapper.
The doubts come when you consider that we haven’t seen the sort of pace from him that we have from some others, given that they’ve raced in competitive handicap conditions which Jpr One hasn’t as yet.
Last year’s winner in similar conditions and when in similar form, Soaring Glory is the most obvious horse for any Betfair Hurdle shortlist this time around. His situation twelve months on is so similar that really, it simply comes down to the numbers.
He won the race off 133 last year in convincing fashion, the handicapper believing he ran to a mark of 143 in truth. On balance, he’s probably been running consistently to a mark of around 149 in recent times and is now off 147 officially, with that potential 2lb discrepancy being handy but not enough to land a race like this.
Tritonic is the ideal type for this race. Just five years old and with no doubt plenty of natural improvement to come, he also has vital experience having had 18 races under rules including seven over hurdles.
After a stunning start in this sphere, Tritonic was sent off at only 4/1 for the 2021 Triumph Hurdle and he’s done well overall since then.
His key piece of form is his win at Ascot in December. That was in an Ascot Grade 3, in very similar race conditions to what he faces here, while there is undoubtedly much more to come from him.
He looks well handicapped for this race and won’t mind the potential rough and tumble of it all, giving him the most reliable-looking profile of the lot.
Soaring Glory may just have too much weight this time around, while Broomfield Burg and Boothill could move up a level now.
The one with most in his favour, undoubtedly, is Alan King’s TRITONIC and he gets the vote.