Getaway Trump camp buoyant as smart novice is made favourite for Betfair Hurdle

Promising novice Getaway Trump is the sponsor's 8-1 favourite for next month's Betfair Hurdle at Newbury and his enthusiastic owners cannot wait to have a crack at Britain's richest handicap hurdle.

Based with ten-time champion jumps trainer Paul Nicholls, Getaway Trump was among 55 horses entered on Tuesday for the £155,000 event, which takes place on February 9 and in which novices have a tremendous recent record.

Seven of the last nine winners of the Betfair Hurdle have been novices and Getaway Trump, who was a fine second to the well-regarded Champ in the Grade 1 Challow Novices' Hurdle at Newbury last month, heads the market from fellow novices and 10-1 shots Al Dancer and Thomas Darby.

A chaser in the making, the six-year-old runs in the colours of the Owners Group 023 syndicate, a branch of the better-known Elite and Axom partnerships.   

The syndicate's racing manager Dan Downie said: "We were really pleased with Getaway Trump last time and he came out of it well. Paul mentioned the Betfair Hurdle immediately after the Challow as a next target and that's probably where he'll go. Novices have a good record in it, so it could be right up his street. 

"The fast pace should suit him and I don't think coming back to two miles from two-five in the Challow would be a major issue for him."

The Getaway gelding has won on good and heavy this season and is progressing pleasingly.

"I think he's reasonably versatile," Downie added.

"He ran badly on soft ground in a bumper at Wincanton but was impressive on testing ground at Exeter last month, so it's hard to know at the moment, but I think he's just a horse on the incline.

"We bought him before Christmas 2017 and he'd run in points, but was a bit light and probably wasn't where Paul really wanted him for his first run. He came back this summer looking a lot stronger and has always been a horse Paul liked at home. He just seems to have grown up this season. 

"I've been around horses long enough to know you shouldn't get too excited too early, but he looks a nice horse and everyone is looking forward to seeing how he progresses. He's a really strong traveller, jumps well and has form at the track, so he'd be an exciting runner."

Nicholls, who won the Betfair Hurdle with Zarkandar in 2012, has also entered recent Tolworth second Grand Sancy and Mont Des Avaloirs, while Nigel Twiston-Davies's five include Splash Of Ginge and Ballyandy – successful in the race in 2014 and 2017 respectively – as well as Al Dancer, who would likely be the mount of the trainer's son Sam.

The jockey said: "He's a novice who has done well. Going into a handicap like this would be good experience for him. The long-term dream is the Supreme and the Betfair Hurdle will tell us exactly where we are.

"He's a clean jumper, a good traveller, a bit like Ballyandy was, which is kind of where the line of thought has come from. My Tent Or Yours was another who won the Betfair Hurdle as a novice. It's a route that has worked out well for a lot of horses."

Owned by Dai Walters, Al Dancer is undefeated in three hurdle outings and Twiston-Davies added: "The bigger field will do him good and will help him progress again. He'll learn a good bit from it but at the same time I like his profile. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed that the ground is all right and everything goes in his favour on the day."

Continuing the novice theme, Betfair's Barry Orr said: "As you would expect for the richest handicap hurdle in the UK, entries are strong and, once again, improving novices are to the fore in the betting."