Cheltenham Festival 2012 

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By Dylan Jenear ValueChecker

Vendor Can Dispense with Fred Winter Rivals

Since the inaugural running of the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle in 2005, no real appreciable trends have emerged that enable us to profile potential future winners.

© Racehorse Photos


However, one thing that does strike me about this season’s renewal is that while it looks open, it’s not shaping up to be the strongest of renewals, and the Wikis for Vendor make for a pretty compelling case to back the French import.

Alan King does very well with young hurdlers, and while he has yet to taste victory in the Fred Winter, he has gone close on occasion – he sent out the second and third last year, and has had representatives in the frame on two other occasions since 2005. In Vendor he has a very likely sort that, in all probability, will go on to prove himself far better than his opening handicap mark implies. Consequently, while he is hardly a huge price at around 7-2, he looks the most likely winner of the Grade 3 contest.

Paul Nicholls won this race in 2010 with Sanctuaire, and is likely to be at least doubly represented this time around, with Hinterland and Ulck Du Lin second and third best in the ante-post market for the race. With very little to go on where the latter is concerned, Hinterland looks the pick of the duo at present, though it will look highly significant if Ruby Walsh elects to ride Ulck Du Lin who has yet to race on this side of the Channel.

David Pipe sent out Gaspara to win the Fred Winter in 2007 and his hit the crossbar in this race on a couple of occasions either side of Gaspara’s victory. The chief protagonist from the Pipe yard this season is likely to be Kazlian. He is 2-3 over hurdles so far and is well worth his place in the line-up for this handicap.

Recommendation: Vendor @ 7-2 (generally available)


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