The Ascot and the Newbury Hurdle are two of the most prestigious races in the sport. Both events are sponsored by Betfair, and both have considerable prizes for the winners, £150,000 for the winner at the Betfair Exchange Trophy at Ascot, and £155,000 for the winner of the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury.
Now Betfair is offering a £100,000 bonus to anyone who can win both races. So far, nobody has been able to win both races, though Raja Star came close in 2011, winning at Ascot and coming in third at Newbury two months later.
This initiative carries the support of 11-time champion Jump trainer and Betfair ambassador Paul Nicholls. He is also a winner of Betfair Hurdle at Newbury with Zarkandar in 2012.
According to Nicholls: “The £100,000 bonus for winning both the Betfair Exchange Trophy at Ascot and Newbury’s Betfair Hurdle is an excellent initiative by Betfair and one which is sure to attract strong entries for both races. Hopefully, the bonus is something we can target and we look forward to the prospect of having challengers for both races.”
Leading Irish trainer Gordon Elliott, who is also a Betfair ambassador, is also in support of this extra prize. He was never able to win the Newbury contest but won the Betfair Exchange Trophy at Ascot twice, in 2012 with Cause of Causes and in 2014 with Bayan.
According to Elliot: “The Betfair Exchange Trophy at Ascot is a race we have won twice, with Cause of Causes and Bayan. It is a race we like to target. The £100,000 bonus is a great initiative to reward everyone involved and, if we are fortunate enough to win the Ascot contest again, it will really focus our attention on the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury.”
Betfair spokesman Barry Orr announced that the company is proud to sponsor the two biggest handicap hurdles on jump racing. The £100,000 bonus for any horse that can win both races confirms the company’s commitment to the sport.
Betfair Exchange Trophy at Ascot
This event will take place on Saturday 21st December 2019. First position will go to last year’s winner Mohaayed, ridden by Harry Skelton and trained by D. Skelton. Odds 16/1
The favourite however, is Irish horse Western Ryder at position 3, ridden by R. Johnson and trained by W. Greatrex. Odds 7/1
Betfair Hurdle at Newbury
This event will take place on Saturday 15th February 2020. Last year’s event was won by Al Dancer, the 5/2 favourite, who had already won at Carlisle, Ffos, Las and Cheltenham that season. It was a very successful year for trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies and his son Sam. Entries for the race early next year are not known yet, but we expect Al Dancer to be present.
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