Buzz tops market for Ascot’s big Betfair Exchange handicap

Nicky Henderson’s Buzz has been installed as the 5-1 favourite for this month’s Betfair Exchange Handicap Hurdle at Ascot after 44 entries were received.

The grey bolted up on his last visit to the Berkshire venue, but will have an 11lb rise to contend with if taking his chance on December 19.

He is one of eight entries from Henderson’s Seven Barrows yard, last successful with Brain Power in 2016 – with Call Me Lord, Mister Coffey, Verdana Blue and Allart among his team.

Paul Nicholls has also entered eight – including Solo, Eglantine Du Seuil and Thyme White.

Last year’s winner Not So Sleepy has been given the option by Hughie Morrison, having caused carnage in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle last weekend when he unseated his rider at the first before carrying out Silver Streak at the second.

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Anthony Honeyball will be hoping a return to Ascot sparks Kid Commando back to his best – because having won easily there first time out this season, he was only sixth next time at Haydock.

“Kid Commando is entered in the Betfair Exchange Trophy, and we will make a decision about his participation closer to the time,” said Honeyball.

“We are not really sure why he disappointed at Haydock last time out, but he has been fine since.

“He has winning form at Ascot and was impressive in October, so the Betfair Exchange Trophy is something to think about.

“He did have a tough race on heavy ground at Haydock – and while he may want something a week or so after Ascot, we have made the entry for the moment, and we will think about it. The fixtures haven’t been released for 2021 yet, and this race may come too soon – but I couldn’t find much else for him, so I have made the entry.”

Not So Sleepy was an easy winner last year but caused havoc in the Fighting Fifth
Not So Sleepy was an easy winner last year but caused havoc in the Fighting Fifth (Julian Herbert/PA)

Royal Ascot winner Scarlet Dragon, Neil Mulholland’s Milkwood and Dan Skelton’s novice Third Time Lucki are sure to have their supporters.

Mulholland will consider the race for Milkwood, who looked an unlucky third behind Floressa in the Listed Intermediate Hurdle at Newbury on Saturday.

“He’s very good – I’ve entered him for the Betfair Hurdle in Ascot on the 19th,” said the Wiltshire trainer.

Trainer Neil Mulholland
Trainer Neil Mulholland (David Davies/PA)

“He’s come out of the race no problem. We’ll have a look at that and see.”

Betfair spokesman Barry Orr said: “Nicky Henderson is the most successful trainer in the race with four wins to his name – and Buzz, who was so impressive over course and distance when landing a handicap last month, is our clear market leader at 5-1.

“Not So Sleepy, up 15lb from his winning mark last year, didn’t get past the first hurdle in the Betfair Fighting Fifth. But at 25-1, he could be a popular pick again with punters.”

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