Betfair introduces £100,000 bonus for any horse winning feature handicap hurdles at Ascot and Newbury this season
Both G3 contests take place over around two miles. No horse has ever won both races in the same season. Raya Star, successful at Ascot in 2011, came closest when subsequently a close third at Newbury just under two months later.
The 11-time champion Jump trainer and Betfair ambassador Paul Nicholls, who won the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury with Zarkandar (2012), gave his support to the initiative. Nicholls said: "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 and fellow Betfair ambassador Gordon Elliott has yet to win the Newbury contest but has twice won the Betfair Exchange Trophy at Ascot with Cause of Causes (2012) and Bayan (2014). Elliott also praised the initiative, saying: "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, commented today: "We are proud to sponsor the two biggest handicap hurdles in the calendar and, by introducing this £100,000 bonus for any horse who lands both races, we are once again confirming our commitment to excellence and outstanding achievement."
Nick Smith, Director of Racing and Communications at Ascot Racecourse, added: "We are most grateful to Betfair, both for their continued support of our feature handicap at the Christmas Meeting and for providing this innovative new bonus running into Newbury, linking the two most valuable events of their type in the calendar."
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