2020 Boodles Handicap tips – Two tips for Juvenile handicap

A wonderful view of the runners in the Boodles Handicap Hurdle at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival.

A wonderful view of the runners in the Boodles Handicap Hurdle at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival.

2020 Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle Tips

Jon Vine takes a look at this handicap hurdle on day two of the Cheltenham Festival and provides readers with two 2020 Boodles Handicap tips on Wednesday 11th March.

Registered as the Fred Winter, the Boodles Handicap Hurdle provides juvenile who didn’t make the grade for the Triumph Hurdle with the chance to land a big prize. This two-miler was introduced to the schedule on day two of the Cheltenham Festival back in 2005. Although Band Of Outlaws obliged 12 months ago, the Boodles has proven to be a nightmare for punters, with the average winning price coming in at a staggering 40/1.

I’ve taken a look through the short history of this handicap and picked out three key trends. I’ve then taken a look through the betting and picked out two 2020 Boodles Handicap tips.

Key Trends

  • EVERY winner had either run in flat races or in France before going over hurdles
  • All of the last ten winners had never previously run at Cheltenham
  • Nine of the last ten winners had run at least three times over hurdles
Mick Pastor Ludlow

Mick Pastor will carry top-weight into this year’s Boodles.

Market Leaders

At the head of the market we find two classy horses owned by JP McManus. Both Aramax and Mick Pastor travel to Cheltenham on the back of impressive wins and I don’t think either would look out of place in the Triumph Hurdle. Yet, handicap marks of 138 and 140 respectively make them eligible for the Boodles and they certainly have the quality to contend with big weights.

That being said, the history of this handicap cannot be ignored. There have been more winners of this race carrying a price above 16/1 than below it, so I think it’s sensible for both of my Cheltenham Festival tips to come from the lower end of the market.

2020 Boodles Handicap Tips – Tip One

I didn’t think Fujimoto Flyer ran badly behind the impressive Solo in the Adonis and could be worth chancing with. The handicapper’s decision to hand Emmet Mullins’ mare a mark of 138 – meaning she will be lumbered with 11-8 – seems a little harsh, though.

Another who catches the eye is Repetitio, who hasn’t been seen since beating his elders in a handicap over course-and-distance in December. Nigel Hawke’s experienced sort clearly has a chance, but very few horses have won the Boodles fresh. Only one of the last ten winners had not run within the last 50 days. Recent momentum is clearly very important.

One who I think looks particularly overpriced is BLACKO (20/1 William Hill), who will carry 11-5 if Alan King throws his juvenile into the fray. Although he could only place on both his starts over hurdles in France, Blacko has ran out a comfortable winner on both of his outings on British soil, claiming a couple of snug wins at Taunton and Warwick.

On debut, King’s four-year-old saw off both Zoffee and Night Edition – who could line up against him in the Boodles – in comfortable fashion. Blacko’s jumping had clearly improved as he carried a penalty to victory at Warwick, where he responded to pressure nicely to pull clear on the run to the line. At 20/1, he looks a solid each-way amongst both the Boodles Handicap tips and all-round Cheltenham Festival tips.

Gavin Cromwell Champion Hurdle Cheltenham

Gavin Cromwell tasted success at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival after Espoir D’Allen won the Champion Hurdle.

2020 Boodles Handicap Tips – Tip Two

There’s also a vastly experienced four-year-old, who’s won twice over hurdles, sitting on the same price as Blacko who catches my eye. That being BAJAN EXCELL, who is weighing in as a 20/1 bet in the Cheltenham free bet offers, sourced from Coral.

Gavin Cromwell’s charge reached a mark of just 63 during his nine runs on the flat. After an educational ride on his first start over obstacles, Bajan Excell got off the mark over hurdles on Boxing Day, scooting clear of future two-time winner, Instant Replay in eye-catching fashion.

Bajan Excell then finished third in with his elders at Thurles, before carrying 11-11 to victory in good style at Limerick. Mark Walsh’s mount struggled a little in Grade Three company last time out, but Bajan Excell has proven himself a very capable handicapper and winning experience on an undulating track like Limerick could come in handy around Cheltenham racecourse. Bajan Excell will be the second, and best, of my Cheltenham Festival tips in the Boodles!