Kevin Blake's Big Race Verdict: 50/1 outsider chanced in Betfair Hurdle

Betfair Ambassador Kevin Blake
Kevin Blake is taking a swing at a 50/1 shot in the Betfair Hurdle

Kevin Blake takes aim at the Betfair Hurdle for his Big Race Verdict on Betfair Super Saturday, and our man fancies the chances of one of the rank outsiders in the race...

  • Ultra-competitive Betfair Hurdle gets Kev's BRV

  • Likely strong pace could suit hold-up performer

  • 50/151.00 outsider not so much a Pipe dream

  • Free horse racing multiples bet every weekend in February


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    The Betfair Hurdle (15:15) at Newbury on Betfair Super Saturday is well established as one of the most competitive handicap hurdles in the entire racing calendar.

    It has produced a range of future stars over the years including the likes of Large Action, Mysilv, Make A Stand, Landing Light, Zarkandar and My Tent Or Yours to name just a few.

    In a modern National Hunt era where the Saturday showcases regularly only attract small fields, races like this are a glorious exception and the field is made up of 24 runners on what is set to be testing ground.

    Strong pace likely in Betfair Hurdle

    It can be easy to assume that a field of this size for a race of this nature will always produce an above-average pace, but it's always worth pace mapping them just to be sure.

    They don't always produce as much pace as one might expect and if you can flag this possibility beforehand, there can be a good edge to be gained as it is tough to get into any race from the rear if the pace is steady, but it is even harder to do in a big, compressed field of runners. So, if a lack of pace can be predicted, there can be a big advantage in playing the race with a preference for prominent racers.

    However, this is not one of those races, as there is an awful lot of pace on paper.

    Luccia changed tactics to make all the running to win a similar race last time and is likely to try and repeat those tactics. Knickerbockerglory, Lookaway and Ito Ditto are regular front runners. Go Dante switched to more positive tactics when helping push the pace to win a competitive handicap hurdle at Cheltenham last time and is likely to be at least prominent. Our Champ and Moveit Like Minnie usually races prominently and can help push the pace.

    With all of that in mind coupled with the testing conditions, my inclination is to look for one that is going to be ridden with a bit of patience.

    Strong traveller could go well at a huge price

    Given the likely setup of the race and with the front end of the market having plenty of questions attached to it, this appeals as a good opportunity to have a real swing at one at a giant price. The one I like is the David Pipe-trained Jilaijone.

    The five-year-old has often promised much and not quite delivered off the bridle, with his strong-travelling ways having resulted in him getting into his races a little earlier than ideal from off the pace.

    He seems the type to be ideally suited to this type of race, with loads of cover and pace in front of him promising to make Jack Tudor's task in delivering him later in the day that much easier.

    While Jilaijone has to bounce back from a poor run when last seen back in early-December, that run was much too bad to be true and he has been freshened up since then.

    He has run very well on testing ground in the past and has proven his stamina over a bit further than this. Given that he often moves into his race travelling notably well, he could be one to put up an in-running lay at shorter prices to bail out of the win part of your bet if you are that way inclined.

    At the time of writing, Jilaijone is one of the outsiders of the entire field, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if he outruns those odds, and with Betfair offering six places he appeals as a very tempting each-way bet.

    Back Jilaijone E/W, 6 Places, in 15:15 Newbury @ 50/151.00

    Bet now

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