The Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle takes place on the first day of the Cheltenham Festival nowadays. Paul Nicholls has struggled for winners at Cheltenham in recent years but he has one contender that could get him off the mark on Day 1. Nicholls is joint top trainer in this race with three wins, including back-to-back renewals in 2015 and 2016. He certainly knows how to win the race and it’s my belief he could do so again. Check out our free tips page for daily content across British and Irish racing.
Dixon Cove (16-1, bet365) has done really well since arriving in Britain. She raced three times in France without winning. It’s worth noting that she finished third in a Grade 3 at Auteuil however. Impressive at Hereford on British debut, she won by 13 lengths. Interestingly, the second-placed horse was five lengths behind Cheltenham scorer Scriptwriter on her previous start. She then put plenty of Irish raiders in search of ‘easy’ black-type to bed in a Listed race at Aintree.
It was her performance at Chepstow last time out which was really exciting. Despite coming off second best, it was a career-best effort by some way. The way that she found for pressure and battled to the line showed a terrific attitude and an abundance of stamina in testing ground. These are two things she’ll require plenty of at the Festival. Arguably came out of that race looking like the best horse and the track at Cheltenham looks likely to suit.
For reasons I can’t quite fathom, the handicapper has dropped her rating to 125. Her official rating was 130 going into that last race and this news will surely have her trainer licking his lips. This is a rating which connections will be able to work with and presents a cracking opportunity. Many will assume there will be a well-handicapped Irish raider who’ll take the spoils but this filly has a touch of class. If she can find just a little more improvement, she won’t be far away.
1pt each way @ 16-1
1pt Mighty Potter (Turners’ Novices’ Chase) @ 10-1 (29/11/22)
1pt Ballygrifincottage (National Hunt Chase) @ 14-1 (06/12/22)
1pt Dysart Dynamo (Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices’ Chase) @ 6-1 (03/01/23)
1pt each way Dixon Cove (Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle) @ 16-1 (10/01/23)
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