Nick Gifford is hoping the weather stays dry so he can send Didtheyleaveuoutto for the £155,000 Betfair Hurdle at Newbury on February 9, for which 41 horses have stood their ground.
Gifford is yet to have a runner in Britain’s richest handicap hurdle – a race that dates back to 1963 when his late father, Josh, rode the Ryan Price-trained Rosyth to land the inaugural running.
It was the first of four wins in the saddle for Gifford senior, the most successful jockey in the race’s history and who remains the only person to win it as a trainer as well, following the success of Deep Sensation in 1990.
“Obviously the family connection needs no introduction with the success of dad and Ryan,” said Gifford.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had a runner in the Betfair Hurdle so it would be lovely to go there with a squeak if the ground allows us to do that.”
The JP McManus-owned Didtheyleaveuoutto is 10-1 third-favourite behind Al Dancer (5-1) and Getaway Trump (6-1) with the sponsors after the latest acceptance stage, where Mohaayed, Global Citizen, Western Ryder, Ballymoy and Grand Sancy were notable withdrawals.
As a result, We Have A Dream (11st 12lb) is at the top of the handicap with the weights having risen 1lb.
The novice Didtheyleaveuoutto (10st 13lb) has won two out of three starts over hurdles and finished fifth of six behind the smart Mister Fisher at Kempton on Boxing Day.
Gifford said: “It will be down to Mr McManus, Frank Berry and the team, but he has the entry and if the ground is suitable he will go. If the weather stays like this we will probably run him.
“The horse is in great form and I couldn’t be happier with him here. It appears he’s got a nice weight. I would love to run him, and it would tell us more come the spring which direction we should be heading in. It’s a lovely race for him.
“There will be plenty of pace, going left-handed will suit him slightly better and it would be a fantastic race to be involved with. I wasn’t born when dad rode his winners, but I do remember Deep Sensation winning it.
“Didtheyleaveuoutto is still unexposed. He was a little bit disappointing at Kempton, make no mistake, but if he was a bit flat and he didn’t quite like the ground, trying to give 5lb to Mister Fisher, who has come out and won again, could have proved to have been an impossible task.
“I am hoping he was a bit flat and we’re better than that.”