Fred Winter Handicap Hurdle Tips – Day 2 – Cheltenham 2015
Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle
With winners at 33/1, 25/1 and 40/1 in the last three years alone, it is clear to see why punters will be itching to have a crack at finding a juicy big-priced winner in the Fred Winter Handicap Hurdle (4.40).
Although Crack Away Jack carried top weight to success in this in 2008, the favoured weight band has been around 10st4lb to 11st4lb, which will please followers of Gordon Elliott’s Hostile Fire (8/1). Off the mark at the third attempt in a maiden at Fairyhouse in January (2m, soft), this former Flat performer has form on faster ground and should relish conditions from a fair mark of 131, which should be okay based on past results…
Of the last 10 Fred Winter winners…
10 had never raced at Cheltenham – others were 0-44
9 carried 10st4lb to 11st4lb – others were 1-56
9 were French or Irish-bred – the British-breds were 1-51
9 ran in a non-handicap last time
9 either won or were fifth or worse last time out
8 were officially rated 124-130
Cheltenham Debutants Best
One of the most surprising stats from above concerns those lacking any Cheltenham form, as such runners catered for all 10 winners, and one who will be making his debut here on Wednesday is Paul Nicholls’ All Yours (12/1).
A maiden winner upon debut in February, he then stepped up on that despite defeat last month, which came in a Grade 2 at Kempton. There was no disgrace in being beaten 5l by the classy, Beltor, and the manner in which All Yours stayed on suggests a good gallop and the testing hill will suit.
Nicholls also has the likes of Qualando (16/1), who never had to show improvement from an opening maiden second to winning a small novice at Exeter last month (2m3f, soft). He has a nice weight but needs to improve.
Another making a first appearance at Cheltenham is John Ferguson’s Arabian Revolution (12/1), who is 2-3 over hurdles and arrives having won a decent novice at Huntingdon last month (2m, soft). Prior to that win he met defeat for he first time at the hands of the aforementioned Beltor, although he was beaten just over 2l. He handled good ground on the Flat and is one to consider.
Dan Skelton’s Zarib, on the other hand, has already raced here when a 12l third in a Grade 2 in January (2m1f, soft), but had a confidence-booster when odds-on at Wincanton last month (2m, soft). He too handled faster ground on the Flat, but will need to improve to figure here.
Most of the aforementioned runners all won last time out, which has been a good pointer for this race, and highlighting Alan Fleming’s Gwencily Berbas (12/1), who took a Grade 2 at Fairyhouse last month (2m, soft). A chaser in the making, he obviously has a lot to give over hurdles beforehand and could go well despite a lumpy weight of 11st7lb.
The ability to handle forecast good ground will be key, and one who will have problems on that score is Hostile Fire, who was a decent ground winner on the Flat and remains unexposed over hurdles.