Iberico Lord takes top rank in Betfair Hurdle

Iberico Lord provided Nicky Henderson with a record-extending sixth Betfair Hurdle at Newbury this afternoon.

IBERICO LORD winning the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury in Newbury, England.
IBERICO LORD winning the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury in Newbury, England. Picture: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Just over a decade on from when My Tent Or Yours carried the same famous green and gold hoops to success, Nicky Henderson and JP McManus would once again find themselves in the winners' enclosure collecting the coveted Betfair Hurdle trophy. 

Despite disappointing favourite backers at Ascot last-time-out, the Nicky Henderson-trained six-year-old was well-fancied to return to the form that saw him collect the valuable Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham two starts ago.

Sent off an 11/2 chance to get back to winning ways, the JP McManus-owned could be spotted travelling kindly towards the inside with two hurdles to take. However, similar comments would apply to Dan Skelton's L'eau Du Sud, who held a length advantage jumping the final flight.

The pair set out to do battle down the Newbury straight, but it soon became apparent that Nico de Boinville and Iberico Lord had something up their sleeve. de Boinville asked his mount for maximum effort entering the final furlong and Iberico Lord responded generously, pulling away to score snugly by two and a quarter lengths from Dan Skelton's L'eau Du Sud (28/1).

The Olly Murphy-trained Go Dante (14/1) finished a further six lengths behind in third, while another of Henderson also saddled the fourth home in the shape of Doddiethegreat (18/1).

Henderson was full of praise for his jockey, who had earlier steered Shishkin to Denman Chase success.

Although clearly a fine training performance to get this horse back to his very best, Nicky Henderson was quick to praise the skill of stable jockey Nico de Boinville.

He said: "I think you have to say that is a pretty masterful ride in a race like that which is ultra-competitive and run at a ferocious speed.

"I thought he had no chance and AP (McCoy) kept saying 'they are going too quick; they are going too quick'. If they were (going too quick) we had a chance, but if they weren't we had no chance.

"Nico got it absolutely to the button right, he's gone a proper brave route down the inner and saved every inch. It was very brave. Doddiethegreat has done the same thing and ran a great race – he will want two and a half.

"I had given up on Iberico Lord at half time and he still had a lot to do two out. But then that little white cap appeared, and he was motoring then."

"I don't know what happened at Ascot and I can't blame the ground. We got lucky that Luccia was in there to pick up Iberico's bits," continued Henderson.

"I said to Nico last weekend when he was off, 'why don't you have a little think what you would like to ride in the Betfair' and he said as long as it is soft it will be Iberico Lord – which was a brave thing to say after the last run. He was convinced.

"He isn't in anything yet at Cheltenham and the handicaps haven't closed yet. He doesn't look like he needs two and a half yet, but you never know."

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