FRED WINTER JUVENILE HANDICAP HURDLE INFO
Date: Wednesday, March 15, 2023- Day 2
Type: Grade 3 Juvenile Handicap Hurdle Race
Distance: 2 Miles 1/2 Furlongs
It is run on the Old Course over a distance of 2 miles a half a furlong, there are eight flights of hurdles to take and a full field of 20+ runners usually takes part in this typically competitive Cheltenham Festival event.
The Fred Winter Hurdle 2023 takes place on day two of the Cheltenham Festival, Wednesday March 15th at 4.50PM with this season’s renewal being worth £80,000.
While it is tough to know just how good the juveniles can be, therefore making this a difficult race for punters to solve, it remains one of the biggest betting races of the year as many festival races are while all the usual big-hitting trainers will be targeting what is in its own right a high-quality Grade 3 race.
Fred Winter Hurdle betting will be busy nearer post time and the online markets just keep getting more and more competitive. It will be very interesting to see what sort of offers are being handed out in March as bookmakers fall over each other to grab our business ahead of the biggest betting week of the whole year.
While we can’t foresee what deals are going to be advertised just yet, we can take a look at last year’s special offers as a guide and some of them were juicy. Coral really were at the forefront in 2019, including with their Non Runner Money Back Special on All Cheltenham Races while Betfred’s sign-up deal for the week was a Bet £10 Get £40 Cheltenham Special.
While official entries aren’t yet being accepted, ante post betting on the Cheltenham Festival has already opened up as some of the best young hurdlers in the country begin to show how good they are, their trainers now having to decide whether to aim for Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle or the non-handicap Grade 1 Triumph Hurdle on Friday’s card if they’re good enough.
It’s hard enough with any Cheltenham Festival handicap event to attempt to pre-judge what sort of improvement each runner has in them, allied with roughly what official handicap mark they might have come March, but those problems are exacerbated here given that these horses are very young and are moving up the ranks rapidly.
The only ante post odds we have at the time of writing are from William Hill, so do shop around as more firms make a book on this race as it may be that our early selections are available at bigger prices, hopefully with a ‘non-runner, no bet’ caveat too.
No jockey has ever won this race more than once, but despite this being a very young race trainer Paul Nicholls has already stamped his authority on in it, winning it three times between 2010 and 2016 to become the Fred Winter’s most successful trainer.
Other Fred Winter Hurdle trends can help us identify some reliable patterns in order to make an even better-informed decision before the 2022 running, including these:
8 out of 10 winners of this race had won at least once that season, and while not all needed to be placed last time out, 9 out of 10 were placed on their penultimate start so those being in good form a couple of runs before the Fred Winter should be noted.
Given how young these horses are, it may be pertinent to check on how much rest they’ve had between races. While winners in the last ten years have had anywhere between one and six runs that year in total, what’s more germane is that 9 out of 10 have averaged 27 days off since their last run.
The exception is Diego Du Charmil who’d run in France only once, 132 days before he took this race, but the others as it turns out needed to be match-fit rather than rested. 17-32 days seems to be the most popular amount of time between runs, so be on the lookout for such types.
Only two favourites have won this in the last ten years which is not surprising, while there have been winners at 25/1 (twice), 33/1 (three times) and 40/1. On this basis, we cannot narrow the field down at all based on the market.
If anything, it may be worth looking only at the big outsiders at 20/1+ for an each-way bet as long as they are fitting nicely into a couple of other trend categories. Ladbrokes Cheltenham promotions and the likes will help you make the right choice. It’s worth remembering too that French bred horses have been very successful in this race, many good three-year-olds being recruited from there the summer before this race.
While right now even ante post options for the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle 2022 appear limited, they will grow as the weeks go by so look out for any anomalies in the odds to try and get some even bigger value.
When the final declarations come in however on Monday 9th March, we’ll have our final each-way options made certain which will likely be four places officially, but more offered by select bookmakers. Meanwhile, check out our Cheltenham betting guide page to learn about other races, offers and best bookies to bet on the Festival.
This being a hugely competitive juvenile race with many variables to take into account, the recommendation would be to bet each-way even when the final field is known as there would be nothing worse than taking a big price on a horse then seeing it beaten narrowly up the Cheltenham hill.
Completing a four-timer for leading Irish owner JP McManus on Ladies Day at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival in the Grade 3 Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (registered as the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle) was the Gordon Elliott trained Aramax at 15/2 off an official rating of 138.
Backed in from 12/1, the four-year-old French import to Elliott’s stables in County Meath landed the spoils in this hotly competitive handicap which has been littered with big price winners down the years. Although that trend has been bucked by at recent Cheltenham Festivals, Aramax raced in mid-division under Mark Walsh – one of the two jockeys retained to ride by McManus – and started to make some headway after the third last.
He then took things up approaching the final flight and kept on strongly, asserting up the Cheltenham hill to beat 16/1 shot Night Edition from the David Pipe yard by a cosy length. Elliott scooped most of the Fred Winter prize money on offer as he also had the third and fourth horses home, Saint D’oroux and Recent Rendezvous each at 14/1 in different ownership and both beaten about three lengths by Aramax.
Both of the 5/1 joint-favourites, Alan King’s Black and Palladium from the Nicky Henderson yard, were pulled up after weakening and making mistakes respectively. That didn’t matter to McManus though, who again looks to have a strong hand in the juvenile hurdle division. Aramax has taken time to progress since joining Elliott from France, but that patient handling has been rewarded with Fred Winter success. It would be no surprise to see him take a step up in grade at one or other the spring festivals at Aintree, Fairyhouse or Punchestown before the end of the 2019-20 National Hunt season.
It feels like the Fred Winter has been on the calendar forever, but in fact this was one of several new races added to the Festival in 2005 when it was extended to four days.
We’ve listed the last ten winners above, including Band Of Outlaws who took the 2019 renewal in good style for Joseph O’Brien and jockey JJ Slevin as the well-backed 7/2 favourite.
His position in the market was no surprise given the form he was in, but what was a surprise was just how well he won this race. Having cruised into contention around the bend, Band Of Outlaws hit the front after the final flight and stayed on strongly to win by 2 lengths, the horse having since been sold to crack owner JP McManus.