Betfair Hurdle Preview – Who To Side With In Saturday’s Big Race At Newbury


The Betfair Hurdle is the feature race on Saturday’s superb card, and with the maximum 24 runners set to go to post, it should prove to be quite the spectacle to watch! The rain has come at Newbury and the ground is expected to be at least soft going come race day, so that’s certainly worth bearing in mind when trying to pick out the winner. 

Check out our preview for Saturday’s big handicap, where we delve into previous winners and key race trends, before looking at the key runners to focus on and giving our expert verdict on who to side with. 

Previous Winners

  • 2023 – Aucunrisque (9/1)
  • 2022 – Glory And Fortune (20/1)
  • 2021 – Soaring Glory (17/2)
  • 2020 – Pic D’Orhy (33/1)
  • 2019 – Al Dancer (5/2F)
  • 2018 – Kalashnikov (8/1JF)
  • 2017 – Ballyandy (3/1F)
  • 2016 – Agrapart (16/1)
  • 2015 – Violet Dancer (20/1)
  • 2014 – Splash Of Ginge (33/1)

Key Race Trends

  • 12/12 winners were aged between 5-7. 
  • 12/12 winners carried 11st 8lbs or less.
  • 11/12 winners had at least two runs that season. 
  • 10/12 winners were rated 132-141. 
  • 8/12 winners had won at least once that season. 
  • 3/12 winners had won last time out. 

Main Runners

Ocastle Des Mottes

Willie Mullins runner is somewhat of an unknown in here, having only raced in France so far. He did win two of his five hurdle races in France, so an opening mark of 133 could underestimate him, but it’s impossible to predict how he will run in here and at the odds, I will be happy to steer clear for now. 


After an impressive debut season hurdling last year. Harry Fry’s runner has gone close in both handicap races this season, including an excellent third behind Luccia at Ascot on unsuitably good ground (finished six lengths ahead of Iberico Lord). He could prove a danger to all, especially if the ground does turn soft as expected. 

Iberico Lord

The form of his Greatwood Hurdle win has worked out extremely well and is some of the best form on offer here, but he then put in a poor run last time out at Ascot. The good ground may have been the issue that day so I’d be willing to forgive him that run, and he looks to have a major chance in here. 


Has been hugely impressive this season, winning the Grade 2 Sky Bet Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham on seasonal reappearance, before an excellent second behind Iberico Lord in the Greatwood. He’s now 5lb better off with that rival and comes into this on the back of a runner-up effort in the Grade 1 Challow Novices’ Hurdle. Drops back in trip here and looks like one of the big players. 


Making his handicap debut after a string of impressive results in his debut hurdling season. Finished a nose behind Jango Baie (who has since won a Grade 1) on his first start, before winning two of his three races since, including a 14-length romp last time out at Huntingdon. Harry Cobden is an interesting jockey booking and he looks to have a big chance, although he does carry 11st 9lbs and no horse has won off carrying that much weight since Persian War in 1968. 

Aurigny Mill

Victor Dartnall’s stable star has been hugely impressive in winning his last two races, and his speed could be a big plus point in this race. Ticks plenty of the trends boxes for this race and is more than capable of making his presence felt. 

Outsiders To Watch

Under Control

Comes into the race after a hugely promising run at Doncaster two weeks ago, splitting Grade 1 winners Ashroe Diamond and Gala Marceau. Has previous form that would suggest she should go close, including a notable ½ length victory over Iberico Lord at Sandown last season. Mares don’t have a great record in this race though (1 winner from 17 runners), which will be part of the reason she’s a double-figure price. 


Fergal O’Brien’s 7YO has put in some excellent performances this season, including a runner-up effort in a Grade 2 at Cheltenham behind Lookaway, before going one better to win the Grade 2 Newton Novices’ Hurdle next time out. The step up to Grade 1 company was a step too far on his most recent start, but he looks overpriced here. Jockey Jack Hogan takes a valuable 3lbs off his back so I give him a lively each-way chance. 


Last seen winning a Premier Handicap at Ascot, finishing ahead of plenty of these rivals in the process. Won on her sole C&D visit back in November 2022, but does have the poor record of mares in this race to contend with, as well as ground that will be softer than ideal for her. Nonetheless, she is a talented mare and can make her presence felt if in the right mood.  


With so much quality in the race and a full field of 24 runners, this is an incredibly difficult race to predict! Plenty of bookmakers are paying 6/7 places in the race, so I’m going to put up two tips. I was torn between Altobelli and IBERICO LORD, but I’m just going to side with the latter, who will relish the soft ground and if he can get back to the level that saw him win the Greatwood then he should take some stopping. 

The other one is one at a bigger price, and that’s KAMSINAS. He has some excellent form coming into the race, and although he won’t want it to get too soft, I expect this speed test to suit. Jack Hogan is excellent value for his 3lbs claim and he looks overpriced.


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