The Betfair Hurdle is one of my favourite races of the National Hunt season, and one I have a pretty good recent record in – and this year I’m sweet on the chances of Broomfield Burg for Nicky Henderson.
The six-year-old son of Sageburg was bought by a certain JP McManus for a cool £90,000 following a commanding point-to-point victory on the other side of the Irish Sea a couple of years ago, before being sent to Seven Barrows to begin his career under rules.
Things didn’t get off to the best start, with a bitterly disappointing effort – finishing 15 lengths back in 7th at odds of 5/4 – in a Newbury bumper in January last year when running incredibly green. However, after a 104-day break he returned with a couple of emphatic successes, marking him down as a novice hurdler to watch for the current season.
Despite being well-supported into 8/15f, Broomfield Burg again failed to win first time out at Newbury back in November – but I actually marked that down as a pretty good run. Giving 7lbs to the entire field, he finished just over a length behind a well-regarded novice for Paul Nicholls, and four lengths in front of Dan Skelton’s Boombawn, who’s since run a promising race behind the exciting Jonbon who is right up there in the betting for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Festival.
Cheltenham Festival Betting Odds
Broomfield Burg was put straight into handicap company next time out, off a mark of 130, in a 0-140 contest round Cheltenham in early December. He was again well-backed, into 5/2, and travelled like much the best horse for 95% of the race before seeming to find precious little at the finish and again having to settle for second best.
However, he was giving almost two stone to the winner that day, Lively Citizen, who has since climbed the handicap by 9lbs, so I think we’re looking at another run that is much better than it originally looked.
It’s his run last time out that really impressed me though. Just over two weeks after that Cheltenham handicap, Broomfield Burg absolutely bolted up by 10 lengths back in a novice hurdle – won in the past by the likes of Altior and Mister Fisher – at Kempton on Boxing Day.
It was the first time in his career that he put it all together. He settled, he travelled powerfully, he jumped well, he quickened nicely and he saw out his race strongly. I think he took a massive step forward that day.
The form of that race isn’t red-hot by any means, but Black Poppy who was some way back in second, went on to win her next contest – and the third-placed Corrigeen Rock was running a solid race before falling at the last in the Scottish Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Musselburgh last week. The selection beat them by 10 lengths on Boxing Day, under a motionless Nico De Boinville, so I think it would be unfair to crab the form too much.
The crucial part is that Broomfield Burg’s mark of 134 remained unchanged following that win. I think that’s extremely generous from the handicapper. I’m certain that he’s better than that.
As a novice (novices have won the last six renewals of this race) with a touch of class that I believe to be very well-handicapped, Broomfield Burg has the profile of a Betfair Hurdle winner. I’d be disappointed if he doesn’t go very close.
Betfair Hurdle Tip: Broomfield Burg to win @ 9/2
Today’s Horse Racing Odds