Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle Date is March, 11, 2020
Type: Grade 3 Juvenile Handicap Hurdle Race (2 miles 1/2 furlongs)
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Known these days as the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle for sponsorship reasons, the Fred Winter as it is more popularly known is the premier juvenile handicap race of the season, therefore being for four-year-olds only.
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Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle 2020 Preview & Tips
Preview By Frank Monkhouse
Former professional boxer who is now a content writer specialising in sports and betting. Has worked for some of the biggest names in the industry, including Coral and Betfair covering all manner of sports, from boxing and football to horse racing. A student of the formbook, he loved stats, trends, numbers and how they can guide punters towards a winner.
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 2020 takes place on day two of the Cheltenham Festival, Wednesday March 11th 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.
Antepost Key Runners & Favourites
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.
The early favourite and the one attracting a reasonable number of bets so far is Gary Moore’s Botox Has. Having had three runs already since being recruited from France, he stepped up to the mark each time winning two and finishing runner-up once, all the while improving from race to race.
He has already proven he can handle Cheltenham having won a Triumph Hurdle trial, but the downside of course is that it probably means he will be aimed at that bigger race and not this one, making the non-runner no bet scenario very important if you want to back him.
Donald McCain’s Navajo Pass remains of interest after himself registering two wins and a second from his three hurdle runs so far. He’s improving nicely and is already a Grade 2 winner having won the Summit Juvenile Hurdle at Doncaster and it has to be said that on ability alone he should already be a three-time winner, but therein lies the problem.
It seemed that more than anything else it was the tough uphill finish that beat him on his second outing at Newcastle while he clearly appreciated the flatter track at Donny, meaning while his stats will be good he may not be at his best around Cheltenham and that is enough of a reason to urge caution.
Another French import, Paul Nicholls’ Mick Pastor, is a very interesting potential runner. He fluffed his lines when 5/2 favourite for a Grade 2 Triumph Hurdle trial at Cheltenham with his trainer saying that he choked in the very soft ground.
He was hugely impressive over at Auteuil and it’s that win that marks him out as a real potential star. Should that happen then of course the Triumph will be the goal, but one wonders whether this race will be tempting for the yard should he be given a lower than expected handicap mark following his disappointment in November.
Dan Skelton, while already an established trainer of course, is really rising up the ranks with the evidence of his quality as a handler being not in his overall numbers, but in his Cheltenham Festival record which is becoming more and more impressive.
He may run Langer Dan in this event, a gelding who was two from two before bumping into Botox Has in the Triumph Hurdle trial. That race was a step too far in terms of quality, but he handled the track well in finished second and it may well mean that this is the race for him, rather than the Triumph so he is a more likely runner.
Based on his current mark of 135, which should not rise too much more before March, he could develop into a well handicapped type and is of strong interest.
Another horse already fully versed in the ways of Cheltenham is early 50/1 shot Repetitio of Nigel Hawke’s yard. He narrowly won a handicap hurdle around there last time out and so is a solid option, however he is the type that the handicapper probably already has in his grasp and so while he looks like the type to give punters a good run for their money, his current price is probably about right.
Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle Stats & Trends
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 2020 running, including these:
This Season’s Form
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.
Days Since Last Run
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. 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.
Fred Winter Tips
Given that others may be aimed at the Triumph, the trick here is trying to pinpoint which of the early contenders may even go for this race and with that we stick with MICK PASTOR and LANGER DAN.
The former may yet prove to be the best of the juveniles, but given that he was well beaten on soft/heavy ground last time he may not be given too big a handicap mark and therefore could be adjudged by his top stable to be well-handicapped for this race, a temptation for them we’re sure.
Even if the ground is good to soft come the big day he should learn to handle it just fine, so given his potential a chance could be taken on him at around the 25/1 mark here, though even getting around 20/1 eventually with ‘non-runner, no bet’ included he’d be worth a few pounds.
Langer Dan is even more likely to head for this. Having been put in his place by Botox Has it seems unlikely that his trainer Dan Skelton will feel he has enough improvement in him to go beyond his Cheltenham conqueror by March, let alone the influx of smart Irish horses who will also attempt the Triumph Hurdle.
He does have ability though and can have his handicap mark looked after by his smart stable, so with those things in mind 33/1 looks a very tempting price about him in a handicap just now and he looks another very good each-way option.
Fred Winter Handicap Hurdle Ante Post Bets: LANGER DAN & MICK PASTOR
Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle Offers
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.
Fred Winter Hurdle Betting Guide
While right now even ante post options for the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle 2020 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.
Past Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle Winners
|2019||Band Of Outlaws||311||4||7/2f||JJ Slevin||Joseph O’Brien|
|2018||Veneer Of Charm||127||4||33/1||Jack Kennedy||Gordon Elliott|
|2017||Flying Tiger||P614||4||33/1||Richard Johnson||Nick Williams|
|2016||Diego Du Charmil||2||4||13/2||Sam Twiston-Davies||Paul Nicholls|
|2015||Qualando||21||4||25/1||Nick Scholfield||Paul Nicholls|
WHAT HAPPENED IN 2019?
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.