Favourite Ballyandy set 10st 6lb

The weights are out for the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury on February 11 and Sky Bet's ante-post 8/1 market-leader will carry 10-6.

Ballyandy (centre) chases home Messire Des Obeaux at Sandown.

Ante-post favourite Ballyandy has been handed 10st 6lb after the weights for the £155,000 Betfair Hurdle at Newbury on February 11 were revealed.

The extended two-mile contest is Britain's richest handicap hurdle and this would be a handicap debut for the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained performer, an 8/1 chance with Sky Bet.

The six-year-old won the Champion Bumper at last year's Cheltenham Festival, but has yet to get his head in front in three starts in novices' hurdles, most recently going down by half a length to Messire des Obeaux at Sandown Park on December 2.

Also prominent in the market are Modus, who has been allotted joint top-weight of 11st 12lb, having triumphed on January 14 in the Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton Park. Owner J P McManus and trainer Paul Nicholls are also responsible for exciting novice Movewiththetimes (10st 7lb), successful on two of his three starts over hurdles.

McManus, who saw his colours carried to victory in the Betfair Hurdle by My Tent Or Yours (2013) and Get Me Out Of Here (2010), owns six of the Betfair Hurdle entries.

They also include Consul De Thaix, runner-up in a valuable handicap at Ascot in December and the lightly-raced Winter Escape, winner of his first three starts but a disappointment when favourite for the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham in November.

A total of 13 Irish-trained entries go forward, including the other joint top-weight Ivan Grozny, a Grade Two scorer when last seen out at Tipperary in October.

Rashaan, who has been set 11st 11lb to carry, claimed the notable scalps of Grade One winners Apple's Jade and Petit Mouchoir when successful in the G2 WKD Hurdle at Down Royal on November 4.

Trainer Colin Kidd, who is based in County Carlow, is mulling his options and commented: "The Betfair Hurdle is an option for Rashaan.

"I haven't decided which way to go with him yet. There is a nice two-mile Flat race on the All-Weather at Dundalk on the same weekend as the Betfair Hurdle, which is another possible target.

"A lot will depend on the going as he does want good ground and there is quite a big difference between his rating in Ireland and the weight he has been given at Newbury.

"All has been good with him since he won at Down Royal and we are deciding where we will go with him next. He needs one run before he goes to Cheltenham."

Other contenders prominent in the ante-post market are Peter The Mayo Man, an 11-length winner over the course and distance on November 3 and Wait For Me, another course and distance scorer who was a staying-on fourth in last season's County Hurdle.

Barry Orr, spokesman for race sponsors Betfair, said: "Ballyandy looks to have a decent racing weight and having won the contest with Splash of Ginge in 2014 his trainer, Nigel Twiston-Davies, knows what's required to win this prestigious handicap and he is sure to have the Cheltenham bumper winner nicely primed.

"It is an ultra-competitive betting heat and we are paying five places to each way punters in the race."

A maximum field of 24 runners is permitted to line up.

Read More at Sporting Life

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