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2022 Betfair Hurdle Trends
The Betfair Hurdle is one of the signature handicap hurdle races in the National Hunt horse racing season.
Regarded as one of the most competitive handicap hurdles run all year, the Betfair Hurdle is often littered with young horses ahead of the assessor. Most have aspirations of competing in open company and the 2022 edition is no different.
The two-mile speed test is often run at a helter-skelter gallop that places emphasis on the ability to travel strongly and jump well because any loss of momentum can have major repercussions, especially with so much surrounding traffic.
Ante-post betting for the Betfair Hurdle is hugely competitive and the 2022 edition looks as open as ever, with UK bookmakers going 5/1 the field.
2022 Betfair Hurdle Details
Date: Saturday, February 12
Status: Grade 3 Handicap
Distance: 2m ½f
Prize fund: £155,000 (£87,219 to the winner)
Live on: ITV and Racing TV at 3.35pm
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2022 Betfair Hurdle Key Ten-Year-Trends
- Age matters: This is a strong trends’ race when it comes to age. Every one of the last ten winners have been aged five or six.
- Experience crucial: This is not a race for an inexperienced hurdler and every winner this decade already had at least three hurdle outings under their belt.
- Winning form: Betfair Hurdle contenders are usually horses on the up that the assessor hasn’t got hold of, which is why no Betfair Hurdle winner in the last decade had won more than three hurdle contests previously.
- Weighty matters: No horse has carried more than 11st 8lb to victory in the last ten years, which is a concern for fans of Soaring Glory, Tritonic, and Metier. No horse this century has carried top-weight to victory.
- Avoid fallers: The strong tempo of this race places extra emphasis on hurdling, which is why no horse has won the Betfair Hurdle having previously fallen in their career.
- Geldings rule the roost: Every winner of the Betfair Hurdle this century has been male.
No trainer has won the Betfair Hurdle more times than Nicky Henderson but the six-time champion trainer has only saddled one winner since 2004.
Recent trends point in the direction of Nigel Twiston-Davies and Gary Moore who have both won the race three times since Henderson’s last success in the race.
Unsurprisingly, Paul Nicholls is on the scoresheet with a double in the last decade while Jonjo O’Neill has also won the race twice this century, notably with Soaring Glory who is aiming to follow up his 2021 success.
Sam Twiston-Davies and Jamie Moore are the only two modern-day jockeys to have won the Betfair Hurdle twice, while Jamie’s brother Josh is also on the board after steering Violet Dancer to victory for father Gary in 2015.
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2022 Betfair Hurdle - Key Contenders
Tough to rule many of these out but Soaring Glory looks one to take on at the top of the weights. He’s a full stone higher than when winning the race last year and no horse has won back-to-back Betfair Hurdles since Rosyth in 1963 and 1964. Topweights have a terrible record in this so it's a big ask for him.
You have to go back to Persian War in 1968 for the last time a five-year-old carried at least 11st 8lb to victory so Tritonic has enough on his plate for a trainer that has never won this race.
The pair that stand out from a handicapping perspective are Jpr One and Broomfield Burg and it’s no surprise that they are both prominent in Betfair Hurdle ante-post betting lists.
Jpr One has only raced three times but all three runs have been over hurdles so he’s got enough experience if he’s good enough. He bolted up under a penalty at Taunton despite racing keenly early on and he might just be the type to thrive in a more evenly run affair, circumstances he ought to get here.
Broomfield Burg is the sole representative from the Nicky Henderson yard, which may be a pointer in itself, and he could easily be better than a mark of 134 after thrashing a subsequent winner at Kempton last time. He lost out to a well-handicapped rival at Cheltenham in December but his conqueror has since struck again off a 5lb higher mark, so that form looks useful.
Boothill didn’t deliver over fences at Exeter last time but he was a progressive hurdler prior to that and he is 4lb better off with Soaring Glory after finishing just over two lengths behind that rival in a warm Ascot contest earlier in the season. Boothill still has untapped potential but trends devotees will point to the fact that he’s only had two runs over hurdles.
There must be a good chance that Jetoile is better than his opening mark of 133 and he’s another fascinating contender for a lesser-known yard. Ryan Potter’s charge couldn’t hold a candle to Supreme Novices’ Hurdle favourite Constitution Hill at Sandown but he finished around 13 lengths in front of a Gary Moore runner that came out and bolted up in a novice at the same track next time. The problem for Jetoile fans is that he’s a seven-year-old and every winner of this race in the last decade has been younger.
Gary Moore’s record in the race is strong so his trio all deserve respect, not least Royaume Uni who might still have some upside over hurdles, especially on decent ground. He couldn’t pick up in soft ground at Ascot last time but drying conditions at Newbury will be right up his street.
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2022 Betfair Hurdle Betting odds
Current UK bookmaker odds 5/1 Jpr One, 11/2 Broomfield Burg, Knappers Hill, 7 Soaring Glory, 8 I Like To Move It, Jetoile, 10 Boothill, Tritonic, 12 Fifty Ball, Metier, 14 First Street, 16 Glory And Fortune, 20 Royaume Uni, 25 Lord Baddesley, 33 Howdyalikemenow, Natural History.
2022 Betfair Hurdle Verdict
Lots of chances, as you would expect, and it’s easy to see either Jpr One or Broomfield Burg winning given the handicapping potential.
However, we’ve had a few double-figure priced winners of this in recent years so don’t be afraid to back something at bigger odds.
We surely didn’t see the best of I Like To Move It behind Jonbon in a slowly-run Grade 2 contest at Ascot last time and this previously progressive young hurdler might just prove a different proposition in this sort of contest.
His emphatic defeat of Tritonic at Cheltenham is a strong piece of form and I Like To Move It saw his race out strongly up the hill off what had been an even gallop so he should be well suited by the demands of this contest. He would be a fair bit shorter in the market if it wasn’t for his Ascot run last time and you should forgive any horse one bad run.
Nigel Twiston-Davies has a strong record in the race and I Like To Move It fits all the key trends so everything looks in place for a big run from this improving five-year-old.
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2022 Betfair Hurdle - Last Ten Winners
- 2021 Soaring Glory 17/2 Trainer: Jonjo O'Neill, Jockey: Jonjo O'Neill Jr
- 2020 Pic D'Orhy 33/1 Trainer: Paul Nicholls, Jockey Harry Cobden
- 2019 Al Dancer 5/2F Trainer: Nigel Twiston-Davies, Jockey Sam Twiston-Davies
- 2018 Kalashnikov 8/1C Trainer: Amy Murphy, Jockey: Jack Quinlan
- 2017 Ballyandy 3/1F Trainer: Nigel Twiston-Davies, Jockey: Sam Twiston-Davies
- 2016 Agrapart 16/1 Trainer: Nick Williams, Jockey: Lizzie Kelly
- 2015 Violet Dancer 20/1 Trainer: Gary Moore, Jockey: Joshua Moore
- 2014 Splash Of Ginge 33/1 Trainer: Nigel Twiston-Davies, Jockey: Ryan Hatch
- 2013 My Tent Or Yours 5/1F Trainer: Nicky Henderson, Jockey: A P McCoy
- 2012 Zarkandar 11/4F Trainer: Paul Nicholls, Jockey: Ruby Walsh