The extended 1m 7f Grade 3 Betfair Exchange Trophy Handicap Hurdle at Ascot on Saturday, 18 December (3:35) has often been sponsored by bookmakers. This race is perhaps best known as the Ladbroke Hurdle. There were 16 runners left in this early-closing contest at the five-day stage, so SportsLens experts give their Betfair Exchange Trophy tips and analysis.
Among the entries are the last three winners of the December Handicap Hurdle at Sandown Park. There is also the first, third and fifth from the Greatwood Hurdle during Cheltenham’s November Meeting who could meet again. Winners of the Gerry Feilden at Newbury and London Handicap Hurdle over course and distance, plus Chepstow’s Persian War runner-up are in the mix too.
This is why a race like the Betfair Exchange Trophy proves tough for punters to solve. A look at the ante post markets shows that horse racing betting sites and leading bookmakers favour the Cheltenham form, but there are other lines. Not So Sleepy, a horse that dead heated in a Grade 1 last time out, won this race in each of the last two seasons, so that says a lot about this handicap.
Six of the last 10 winners had an official rating of over 140. Race fitness is also key for the Betfair Exchange Trophy with every recent successful horse coming into the contest off at least one run. Not So Sleepy bucked the trend of only those aged between four and seven landing the spoils with his consecutive victory 12 months ago. The stats only tell us so much, though, so here are the Betfair Exchange Trophy tips from our experts.
Will No Ordinary Joe reverse form with West Cork?
Four-time race winning trainer Nicky Henderson kept No Ordinary Joe as a novice for this season and farmed a couple of races with him in May. He then put the JP McManus owned five-year-old Getaway gelding away for the summer. No Ordinary Joe returned in the Greatwood, chasing home potentially re-opposing rival West Cork. They could now meet again off 4lb better terms for the Seven Barrows runner.
With less than three lengths between them, it gives No Ordinary Joe every chance of turning the tables at the revised weights. West Cork defied 631 days off the track to land the spoils at Cheltenham for the trainer-jockey brother team of Dan and Harry Skelton. The yard has two previous wins in the Betfair Exchange Trophy from 2018 and 2013; however, their representative has a 7lb hike his rating to contend with and could bounce.
Given his lengthy absence before the Greatwood, West Cork remains a lightly-raced seven-year-old. This Midnight Legend gelding remains prominent in the ante post betting, though, at 6/1 with William Hill, who have No Ordinary Joe as their 4/1 favourite. Both could still be improving with Henderson’s horse fourth behind a couple higher up the weights in the Grade 2 Kennel Gate at this meeting 12 months ago.
Progressive pair Onemorefortheroad and Samarrive feared
All of the fancied runners in the market shall carry 11st or less provided top-weight Goshen features in final declarations and frames the handicap. It’s not beyond a four-year-old winning this, so Samarrive enters calculations. Despite an 11lb rise in his rating, Paul Nicholls’ charge remains unbeaten racing right-handed and left his disappointing reappearance run at Cheltenham well-behind with success at Sandown.
Given Samarrive and two other previous winners of the December Handicap Hurdle hold entries here, this is a logical next step. The Betfair Exchange Trophy demands more than that Listed contest, yet Samarrive – a typical French import to Ditcheat – has only had four career starts. He is another open to any amount of further progress. That explains best odds of 11/2 with Bet365 for him to follow-up.
Lurking a bit further down the handicap is Onemorefortheroad. Neil King’s charge has improved 10lb for a hat-trick of successes this autumn. The most recent of those came in the Gerry Feilden during the Newbury Winter Carnival. Again, this six-year-old must progress but a 3lb rise in the weights for his latest triumph looks fair.
A softer surface may not suit Onemorefortheroad, however. King has kept this 136-rated son of Yorgunnabelucky to ground with good in the description. His horse beat a trio of last time out winners, though, which include the potentially re-opposing Soaring Glory. Onemorefortheroad is an 8/1 chance with BoyleSports for the four-timer in this.
Betfair Exchange Trophy top weights Goshen and Soaring Glory seek to bounce back
Both course and distance winners among the declarations head the weights. The aforementioned Goshen didn’t seem to get the trip in the Ascot Hurdle over further here on reappearance, so drops back in distance. Gary Moore’s talented but quirky five-year-old hasn’t been the easiest to train.
Goshen, a gelding by Authorized, bolted up at 1/5 around here on his final start before his infamous last hurdle unseat in the Triumph at Cheltenham. Precious little has gone right since with his only subsequent success coming in the Grade 2 Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton in February. Goshen needs to run right-handed, so that limits his options. He’s not exactly chucked in to this handicap off 153 and 12/1 with top online bookies to get his head back in front.
Soaring Glory, meanwhile, has course form figures of 1231, so clearly loves Ascot. Home in front of Ordinary Joe in the Kennel Gate, this Jonjo O’Neill trained Fame And Glory gelding could meet that one again off 13lb worse terms. It is big ask in this handicap to confirm the form. Soaring Glory went on to land the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury and was then far from disgraced when fourth in the Supreme at Cheltenham.
The six-year-old looked as good as ever when landing the London Handicap Hurdle, a Listed event over course and distance on reappearance. However, he then ran no race at all in the Gerry Feilden when last of four behind Onemorefortheroad. Maybe the small field didn’t suit Soaring Glory but the assessor hasn’t cut him any slack for that poor showing last time out. He is a 10/1 chance with Bet365 to bounce back.
Lads look overpriced on pick of form
Luttrell Lad could make his handicap bow off what looks a workable mark of 135 for trainer Philip Hobbs. Second in the Grade 2 Persian War to stable companion Camprond, who went on score again next time out and then run fourth in the Greatwood, this five-year-old Beat Hollow gelding later filled the same spot behind racecourse debutant Jpr One at Exeter.
These are solid efforts, especially when you consider that Luttrell Lad conceded a penalty to that one last time out. The Betfair Exchange Trophy is more competitive but, if Goshen frames the weights, Luttrell Lad will only have 10st 8lb on his back. Odds of 12/1 with Betfred could be well worth an each way play as a result.
Dropped 1lb in the weights from his reappearance, meanwhile, is Kennel Gate second Llandinabo Lad. Tom Symonds’ six-year-old Malinas gelding finds himself better off at the weights with both Soaring Glory and No Ordinary Joe. The swing with the former is a whole stone. With No Ordinary Joe, Llandinabo Lad is 1lb better off and has an eight-length cushion from their encounter over course and distance last year.
It must bring this horse into the mix. Llandinabo Lad also chased home the evergreen Hunters Call when last in action at Bangor. Although no match for Olly Murphy’s veteran, the winner has since ran a blinder when a length third in the International Hurdle at Cheltenham. If he comes on for that return, then Llandinabo Lad looks too big at 16/1 with William Hill on the pick of his form.
2021 Betfair Exchange Trophy Tips
Here is our shortlist of ante post each way fancies:
- Onemorefortheroad E/W @ 8/1 with BoyleSports
- Luttrell Lad E/W @ 12/1 with Betfred
- Llandinabo Lad E/W @ 16/1 with William Hill
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