• Hands Heels

Boodles Fred Winter Hurdle

A fascinating race that has thrown up some huge price winners, last years' winner was Jeff Kidder with a SP of 80/1. It usually ends up a race dominated by unexposed horses, it can pay to side with horses who have been aimed at the race and ridden as such to protect a mark, as opposed to exposed horses stepping down from graded company.

The favourite is Gaelic Warrior at just 4/1. He is unraced for Willie Mullins but has very strong French form. His last run was a strong third in a three year old hurdle, the 1st, 2nd and 4th are all graded winners since with the 5th twice placed at Graded level. The form of his other two races has worked out well and he has a UK mark of just 129 so in theory, could be massively well in. It's not the type of bet I like to make in such open races like this and instead I will be picking out another two bets at bigger prices that I think could go well here.

Firstly, I'll share my reasoning behind one of my Ante Post bets, Ebasari. Who I still like the chances of. On his first start over hurdles, he beat the 1/4 shot that day, Adamantly Chosen, winner of the valuable Goff's Land Rover Bumper back in April. That bumper form worked out brilliantly with the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 7th all winning since. Adamantly Chosen also had the benefit of age, with Ebasari only being 4, and experience having already run once over hurdles, finishing a half length second to two time graded placed Gringo D'aubrelle. Adamantly Chosen on his next start hosed up by nearly 30 lengths. For a first run, Ebasari was mightily impressive, he was positioned just behind the leaders and made his challenge around the bend, despite the winning margin only being three quarters of a length, he was good value for that and won well. The fact they pulled some 27 lengths clear of the third shows it was good form.

He ran wide and was never put in the race on his next start finishing well behind, Veneer of Charm finished last in the same race before winning the boodles. He then ran an interesting race in third behind Brazil. That race was very odd as there was only one horse who wanted to win, the other horses were all ridden with a handicap in mind possibly all with one eye on this. The race has actually thrown up two previous winners of the Boodles, Aramax and Band Of Outlaws. I advised him at 33/1 which is huge, but still at 12/1, he would be worth an each way play.

Sea Sessions is the first who I’ll add at 25/1 NRNB, a fairly average flat performer, she made a brilliant debut over hurdles. Just being held by Bell Ex One, a dual winner over hurdles and now with Paul Nicholls. She was a length ahead of Calvados, with who she’s closely matched. Calvados has since been listed placed twice and was thought highly enough of to run in the grade two juvenile over Christmas. Her second start she was again second, going off joint favourite she was eventually well beaten, but unlucky to run into leading Triumph contender, Fil Dor. Upped in class she went off 8/1 for a listed mares juvenile race at Aintree, staying on powerfully to win by over 2 lengths. Calvados was second, the third was grade three placed this last weekend, and the fourth won a listed race at the end of January. That same listed race Sea Sessions was second in a photo finish, but was carrying her previous listed win penalty. She is only rated 121 which I think she is better than, but it’s worth taking NRNB as even with the Irish tax her handicap mark means she may miss out.

Saint Riqiuer will be my final play in the race 66/1 is available, but I’ll be advising 50/1 NRNB because he will probably need to win this weekend to get into the race off his current mark. He won on his third start back in France, massively improving on his first two racea and it’s a similar story for his UK form. He didn’t jump well on debut but showed a good engine to only finished 5 lengths off the winner. His next three starts we’re all 2nd places, he was beaten by 3 decent horses. He was second to Twilight Twist who was then fourth in a Triumph Trial. The second runner up spot was most impressive, coming in the Grade Two triumph trial, he was only 2 lengths behind Knight Salute who is arguably the leading British hope in the Triumph. The final second in that sequence, he was beaten by Graystone who has won again since and himself finished placed in a Grade Two behind Knight Salute this weekend. Saint Riquier’s most recent start was also his most disappointing, beaten 30 lengths by Porticello in the Finale Grade One. I will excuse that as he had ran 5 times in just over two months. Gelded since, which might eek out some jumping improvement and now freshened up, he could outrun his huge odds. A mark of just 120 is underestimating him, considering he chased home Knight Salute who was rated 137 before winning another grade two this weekend. He’s entered this weekend and might need to win to come up a few llbs in the handicap to guarantee a run, but that’s the beauty of NRNB, if he doesn’t there’s no risk.

My two Ante Post selections are below, often a hard race to bet in far out, I think I did alright.

Ebasari - Boodles - 33/1 0.5pts each way 5 places (24/01/2022)

Pied Piper - Boodles - 16/1 1pt each way 5 places (PP/Betfair) (03/01/2022)

Ebasari has been massively backed and is now 10/1, I think he's much better than his last two runs and will get in here off a mark well below what he should be. Pied Piper turned out to be much better than even I expected, now just 2/1 for the Triumph.

That leaves us with the following three bets, but in case of non-runners I will add more nearer the race. Sea Sessions - 25/1 0.5pts each way -5 places - (NRNB)

Ebasari- 33/1 0.5pts each way 5 places (Ante Post)

Saint Riquier- 50/1 0.5pts each way 5 places (NRNB)

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