Fred Winter Hurdle race analysis and tips

Fred Winter Hurdle race analysis and tips


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Betting Tip: @ Embole each-way @ 25/1 with boyle

4:50 2m½f (2m87y) (Old) Boodles Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) (Class 1) (4yo)

Last year (horse – trainer – jockey – SP):
1. Flying Tiger – N Williams – R Johnson – 33/1
2. Divin Bere – N Henderson – N Fehily – 9/2f
3. Nietzsche – B Ellison – D Cook – 12/1
4. Project Bluebook – J Quinn – B Hughes – 14/1
(22 ran)

Nature of the race
A fiercely competitive handicap hurdle for juveniles and, not surprisingly, it has proved a lottery, with five of the last six winners going off at 25/1 or bigger. Keeping a few secrets from the handicapper has been a key to success and eight of the 13 winners arrived having had the minimum three hurdle starts. There is no ceiling rating, although with the Triumph as an alternative, horses rated in the 140s tend to take in that Grade 1 rather than give weight to potentially better treated rivals in this race.

Trends analysis
It is important to concentrate on runners rated in a certain bracket – nine of the last ten winners had an official rating between 125 and 134 – and even better if they are French-breds (a French-bred horse has finished first or second in the last six renewals. A relatively unexposed improver is what we are trying to find in all essence and the sign of a suitably progressive profile are defeats on a horse’s first two starts over hurdles – in keeping with six of the last ten winners – and a win last time out (6 winners from 84 qualifiers so far).

Trainer watch
The big stables are always worth noting with both Nicky Henderson and Gordon Elliott on the scoresheet in the last six renewals. But it’s Paul Nicholls who has the standout record as he has won three of the last eight renewals, to go with his four seconds, a third, a fourth and a fifth from just 15 runners. All three of his winners were French-breds.

Best of the home challenge
Given the stable record, it’s no surprise that bookmakers are showing Paul Nicholls’ Act Of Valour plenty of respect. He’s shown he’s not quite up to championship class on his last two starts – beaten twice by Triumph Hurdle hope We Have A Dream – but on his debut win over hurdles and Flat form he looks one of the more likely winners. His stablemate Grand Sancy wasn’t disgraced behind Redicean last time and also has to be considered.

Best of the Irish
Gordon Elliott is another with a good record in this and his Mitchouka brings plenty of winning form (4-7 over hurdles) to the table. A strong traveller he seems sure to be bang on the premises at the final flight, but whether he will come up the Cheltenham hill quite so strongly is another matter and his trainer has expressed his concerns over that. Charles O’Brien’s Mastermind, who finished behind him last time, is weighted to turn the tables.

Others to consider
Dan Skelton is double-handed with Nube Negra, who is disputing favouritism, and Embole. The former finished three and a half lengths behind Apples’ Shakira on Trials Day when trying to give her 4lb, before converting a penalty kick on his next outing at Doncaster, and that is just about the best form on offer. The ex-French Embole was disappointing on his first two British starts but he looked a different horse at Wincanton last time (2m, soft), when showing the benefit of wind surgery to slam a well-regarded sort in Sao.

Style De Garde was an odds-on flop last time behind Esprit De Somoza and it’s hard to see him getting revenge on the winner, who represents last year’s winning trainer Nick Williams and has since finished a respectable second behind the well regarded The Russian Doyen, having not been given too hard a race. The King Of May, Lisp and Look My Way are others worthy of a mention in a wide open contest.

Best bookmaker offers
Boylesports are refunding losing stakes on this race (as a free bet up to £20) if your horse finishes 2nd or 3rd to the SP favourite.

In such a tricky contest with not that much form to go on, the trends are a good way of whittling down the field and one horse who ticks most boxes is EMBOLE – he’s a 129-rated French-bred who tasted defeat on his first two starts before coming good last time. If indeed the wind op was the reason for the improvement, he could prove extremely well handicapped here and may well have more to offer. He’s 25/1 with Boylesports, so he’s the right price too given recent results, and rates decent each-way value.

Betting Tip: @ Embole each-way @ 25/1 with boyle

All odds were correct at time of posting.

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