Newbury Racecourse staged Betfair Super Saturday last weekend, with a tremendous seven-race programme including the £155,000 Betfair Hurdle, Britain’s richest handicap hurdle and the racing turned out as good as expected.
The card also featured two leading trials for next month’s Cheltenham Festival – the £50,000 Grade Two Betfair Denman Chase over three miles and the two-mile £50,000 Grade Two Betfair Exchange Chase.
The Betfair Hurdle was dominated by two six-year-old novices’ with Ballyandy (Nigel Twiston-Davies/Sam Twiston-Davies, the strongly-backed 3/1 favourite) getting the better of Movewiththetimes (Paul Nicholls/Barry Geraghty, 6/1) by three quarters of a length.
The pair moved clear of the field two flights from home and were together over the last before fighting it out on the run-in, with Ballyandy coming out on top. There was six lengths back to Clyne (Evan Williams/Adam Wedge, 6/1) in third with fourth-placed Song Light (Seamus Mullins/Kevin Jones (5), 14/1) another two lengths adrift.
Nigel Twiston-Davies said: “It’s lovely when a plan works out. Ballyandy has been unlucky and hasn’t won any of the races we thought he would but what a consolation.”
“The handicapper gave us a chance for once.”
“At the moment, the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle is his target at Cheltenham, although he is in the Neptune as well.”
“We will see what looks the easiest at the time. The Neptune could be an option as we know he stays.”
“The world is his oyster.”
Sam Twiston-Davies added: “It has worked out great. Nigel’s horses are obviously in tremendous form and Willie [Twiston-Davies] and David Crosse have done a great job at Warwick but my main reason for being here was to ride this horse. He has done it very well.”
“It was really smooth. I had a nice passage – he didn’t jump as well as I might have liked down the back but he really came alive in the straight.”
“I landed there way too soon but, with the cruising speed he has, it just all happens. You end up there, it is all about waiting and he does have a good turn of foot.”
“We will see what the handicapper does and he will have plenty of options. I suppose he will have entries in everything.”
Cue Card looks obvious selection in the Ascot Chase Saturday.
Back next Thursday