16.40 Cheltenham – Fred Winter to come down to a shootout
Speed is of the essence in the Fred Winter Handicap Hurdle and Paintball has plenty of it
This will be only the seventh running of the Fred Winter Handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival but already there are already plenty of trends developing.
Horses entering the race with the bare minimum of three hurdle runs do well and with nine horses making only their fourth start over fences, looking at these is a good place to start.
Plan A currently heads the betting at 6/1 and will make his fourth start over hurdles, and while he is a course winner and will enjoy the ground, in only two of the six runnings has the favourite justified his market price.
In fact, this is the race for punters to chance their arm with a horse at bigger odds and after 14/1, 11/1, 20/1 and 40/1 winners, Paintball can duly oblige at 10/1.
The Charlie Longsdon-trained four-year-old fulfils most of the criteria and as the third highest rated flat horse in the race, Paintball has the speed needed to win.
All six winners were beaten on their first two starts over hurdles and the last five winners have entered this race on the back of a win, mirroring the career of Paintball thus far.
At 11st he is weighted well and in the top half of the handicap which has supplied the last five winners.
Elsewhere The Starboard Bow has solid form on the flat and enters this race off the back of three hurdle starts, and at 33/1, Lucinda Russell’s four-year-old is a big price.
What A Charm has the highest flat rating in the race but his hurdle form in Ireland has been poor.
However at 12/1 the Irish challenger has to be respected with just five horses in front of him in the betting.
A £20 stake on Paintball winning the Fred Winter would return £220. New customers can sign up here for a free bet worth up to £60.