Tritonic and Onemorefortheroad, first and second at Ascot, to rematch at Newbury in Europe’s richest handicap hurdle.
Tritonic and Onemorefortheroad, first and second in the Betfair Exchange Hurdle at Ascot in December, are on track to renew their rivalry in the £155,000 Betfair Hurdle at Newbury after their inclusion among 39 entries for the 12th February prize.
The two horses, trained respectively by Alan King and Neil King, who though not related are neighbours on the Barbury Castle estate in Wiltshire, finished two and three quarter lengths apart in their first clash.
They feature alongside Stage Star, the Paul Nicholls-trained novice who captured the Grade 1 MansionBet Challow Hurdle at Newbury in December, and last year’s Betfair Hurdle winner, Soaring Glory for trainer Jonjo O’Neill.
Five-time race winner Nicky Henderson has four entries, headed by the J P McManus-owned Broomfield Burg, while there are four entries from Ireland, two trained by the country’s champion jumps trainer Willie Mullins.
Betfair have installed Broomfield Burg as the joint favourite with Stage Star, who was described by Nicholls’s assistant Harry Derham as “a speculative entry”.
Tritonic, owned by the McNeill family and Ian Dale, has course-winning form at Newbury, but on the Flat, not over jumps. As a two-year-old he won the Haynes, Hanson and Clark Stakes in 2019, a race most famous for producing future Derby winners.
He has won three of his seven races since switching codes and after his Ascot victory, turned out again eight days later to contest the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton, where he finished fourth of five behind Epatante.
Alan King said: “We ran him at Kempton and the handicapper dropped him a pound after that. I probably came back way too quick with him but I thought it was worth rolling the dice. He’s had a good break since Kempton, came back cantering at the end of last week and looks in good form.
“He was good at Ascot where he powered away. I just felt that he improved a lot for the experience of running in the Greatwood Hurdle in November. Mentally he was much sharper for that first run in a very competitive handicap over hurdles. That brought him on and we saw the benefit of that at Ascot.”
Onemorefortheroad, who represents Rupert Dubai Racing, has won five of his last seven starts over hurdles and won the Gerry Feilden Hurdle at Newbury in November before his latest race.
Neil King said: “The Betfair Hurdle is where he will run next. I do think a flat track like Newbury suits him better than perhaps Ascot with the uphill finish there. Nonetheless he ran his best race to date at Ascot. He is a horse on an uphill curve and I think the Betfair Hurdle is the obvious race to go for.”
The weights for the 2m handicap hurdle will be published on 19th January but on current ratings Onemorefortheroad would be 3lb better off with Tritonic.
“I think we have a few pounds in hand,” Neil King added. “The one thing that would stop us running would be deep ground but there is a bit of dryness in the forecast again now so I am hoping it will stay that way.
“We will be having a go at turning things around with Tritonic at Newbury and hope, if there is another King one-two, it will be the other way round this time!”
Stage Star is one of three horses entered by the Nicholls stable of which another novice Knappers Hill, the winner of five out of his six races, is the most likely representative.
“The Betfair Hurdle has been the plan for Knappers Hill while Stage Star and Hacker Des Places were speculative entries just as another option,” said Derham.
“I suppose if Stage Star was incredibly well, the ground was really deep and it looked like being a testing race then he might be a possible, but it’s not absolutely the plan.”
The Betfair Hurdle will be the richest prize of Betfair Super Saturday which also features the Grade 2 races, Betfair Denman Chase and the Game Spirit Chase, which will be run as the Betfair Cheltenham Free Pot Builder Chase.
Betfair Spokesman Ryan McCue said: “I t has all the ingredients once again to be a brilliant renewal.”
Keith Ottesen, Clerk of the Course at Newbury Racecourse said: “It’s exciting to see such high-quality entries for one of the highlights of our Jumps programme. It brings together the best handicap form for the season so far with an added sprinkling of Grade 1 form including Challow Hurdle winner Stage Star and Christmas Hurdle second and third Glory and Fortune and Soaring Glory. It’s something for race fans to savour and, no doubt, the outcome will have a strong bearing on a number of races at the spring festivals.”
The Betfair Hurdle is the feature race of a seven-race card on Betfair Super Saturday, where tickets are still available to purchase via the newburyracecourse.co.uk website.Full entries can be found below;
Race Details for 15:35 THE BETFAIR HURDLE RACE (HANDICAP) (CLASS 1) (Grade 3) (GBB RACE) (30821), at NEWBURY on 12/02/2022
Song For Someone (GER)
Bryan Drew and Friends / Prof. C.Tisdall
Soaring Glory (IRE)
Mr P. Hickey
McNeill Family & Mr Ian Dale
Glory And Fortune (IRE)
Mr J. Hinds
Stage Star (IRE)
Owners Group 044
Mr G. C. Stevens
I Like To Move It (GB)
Anne-Marie & Jamie Shepperd
Rupert Dubai Racing
No Ordinary Joe (IRE)
Mr John P. McManus
Luttrell Lad (IRE)
Owners for Owners Luttrell Lad
Hudson de Grugy (FR)
Alan Jamieson Site Services Ltd
Knappers Hill (IRE)
Mr P K Barber and Mr P J Vogt
Brian & Sandy Lambert
Rowland Ward (GB)
Mr David Mitson
Broomfield Burg (IRE)
Mr John P. McManus
Elle Est Belle (GB)
Mrs Suzanne Lawrence
Ms J. Bennett
Lucky One (FR)
Sullivan Bloodstock & Hughes Crowley
First Street (GB)
Lady Bamford & Alice Bamford
Hacker des Places (FR)
Owners Group 068
Captain Morgs (IRE)
The Albatross Club
Earth Company (IRE)
Mr R. M. Penny
The GD Partnership
Hystery Bere (FR)
Vale Racing 1
It’s Good To Laugh (IRE)
Brian Verinder & Alan Baxter
Lord Baddesley (IRE)
Mr Richard & Mrs Carol Cheshire
Royaume Uni (IRE)
Mrs E. Avery
Natural History (GB)
Hail Sargent Evans
JPR One (IRE)
Mr J. P. Romans
Chelsea Thoroughbreds – Knickerbocker
Fifty Ball (FR)
Mr Steven Packham
Arctic Warrior (GER)
Mr John P. McManus
W. P. Mullins
Cask Mate (IRE)
High Spirits Racing Club
Sea Ducor (GB)
A. L. T. Moore
Whiskey Sour (IRE)
W. P. Mullins
Good Risk At All (FR)
Walters Plant Hire Ltd
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