Cheltenham Festival News

The 2023 Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle: stats, trends and race guide

Sun 1 Jan 2023

We have all the key stats and facts for the big-field and penultimate race on day one when the four-year-olds take centre stage. See what happens this year live on Racing TV!

Which Grade? Grade Three. Which Course? Old Course. What Distance? 2m 1/2f (8 hurdles)

Prize money: £59,000 Ages: 4yo only Weights & Allowances: Handicap

Key statistics and trends

Market mania:

Nine of the past 18 winners were sent off at 20-1 or bigger while a further three returned at double figures Jeff Kidder the longest-priced Festival winner in over 30 years with triumph at 80-1 in 2021. Band Of Outlaws in 2019 was the first winning favourite since Sanctuaire in 2010.


14 of the 18 winners of the race were officially rated between 124 and 134 (What A Charm was rated just 115 in 2011).

While up until 2015 winners mostly featured around the 125-130 bracket, the quality of the race has increased in recent years with the latest winners coming from the high 130s bracket. Band Of Outlaws had the highest mark of all when defying a rating of 139 in 2019, while Aramax triumphed in 2020 from a rating of 138. Brazil won last year from a rating of 137 while Saint Sam was runner-up in 2021 from a mark of 139.

Weighty matters:

Eight of the last nine winners have carried at least 11st.

Slow starters:

Only six of the 18 winners had won on either of their first two starts over hurdles for their current stable. Band Of Outlaws had won two of his three starts over timber before victory in 2019.

Teed up:

11 of the past 18 winners had run in the previous 25 days. Jeff Kidder is a notable exception, making his first start of the year when successful in 2021.

Paul Nicholls' Stable Visit - Manor Farm Stables

Trainer watch:

Paul Nicholls has targeted this race in recent years and is profitable to follow, with three winners and a further eight placed from 28 runners. While things have been noticeably quieter since 2016, Nicholls has had Bell Ex One (28-1) and Houx Gris (11-2) hit the places in the last two runnings.

Gordon Elliott is another to note with similar stats, training three winners with five placed from 26 runners.

Surprisingly, Willie Mullins is yet to win the race from 18 attempts but the calibre of horse he has run in the race in recent years has notably increased and you'd suspect he's likely to break his duck soon. Ciel De Neige was third at 17-2 in 2019, Saint Sam was second at 9-2 in 2021 and Gaelic Warrior was runner-up at 13-8 last year.

Headgear watch:

Four of the 17 winners wore headgear, but only Flaxen Flare in 2011 (blinkers) had first-time application of headgear or equipment.

Key stat!:

Band Of Outlaws and Jeff Kidder are the only horses of the 17 winners to have won more than one race in the same season before the Festival. Take note!

Race history

The Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle also commemorates Fred Winter, one of the greatest figures in the history of Jump Racing, both as a jockey and trainer.

Winter, who died aged 77 in April 2004, was champion jump jockey four times and champion jump trainer on eight occasions. He saddled four Champion Hurdle winners as a trainer (1971 and 1972 Bula, 1974 Lanzarote, 1988 Celtic Shot) and, although the Cheltenham Gold Cup proved elusive for a long while, he finally landed the feature chase in 1978 with Midnight Court.

He saddled a total of 28 Festival winners and holds the unique feat as only man to have both ridden and trained winners of the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Champion Hurdle.

The Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle, run over an extended two miles, was one of the new races introduced to The Festival in 2005 when the meeting was extended from three to four days.

The inaugural running went to Dabiroun, partnered by amateur rider Nina Carberry. Carberry became the second female jockey to win a Festival race other than the Foxhunter Chase, following on from Gee Armytage.

Trainer David Pipe enjoyed his first Festival success in 2007 with Gaspara, who also netted a £75,000 bonus put up by bookmaker Sunderlands for any horse that landed the Imperial Cup and a race at The Festival. For good measure, his father Martin owned the filly.

Recent renewals of the Boodles

2022 - Brazil

Brazil edged out hot favourite Gaelic Warrior to give trainer Padraig Roche a famous first Festival winner.

French import Gaelic Warrior looked like justifying his short price of 13-8 favourite on his debut for Willie Mullins, but he was collared close home by the former Aidan O'Brien-trained Brazil.

Both horses were up with the pace from the outset with Gaelic Warrior making virtually all until Brazil (10-1) got the upper hand close home in the hands of Mark Walsh.

Roche said: "He's a full-brother to [Leger and Irish Derby winner] Capri so we knew he'd definitely stay, Mark was brilliant on him so I'm just delighted. JP and Noreen (McManus) have been very good to me.

'It's unbelievable, I've been coming here since I was young, when dad was training. It's just unbelievable that it's worked out."

2021 - Jeff Kidder

Jeff Kidder (80-1) ran out the longest-priced Cheltenham Festival winner in over 30 years under jockey Sean Flanagan for trainer Noel Meade.

Always in mid-field, he travelled strongly but needed the gaps to open down the hill and had six rivals ahead of him on the run to the last. Yet he looked his best at the finish to down Saint Sam (9-2F) by two lengths with Elham Valley (66-1) half a length away in third. The fancied Houx Gris (11-2) took fourth.

“I didn’t back him,” said Meade. "I'm not a punter and the prices don't make any difference but he wasn't entitled to be 80-1, he was entitled to be shorter.

“He stays really well on the Flat. Colin Keane had been riding him all year and said 'In time I think he'll win a Cesarewitch for you'. He's a stayer, and that's what you need in this race.”

Flanagan said after his first Festival winner: “I’m delighted for the team and everyone at home.”

2020 - Aramax

Aramax was kept honest after the final flight but ultimately ran out a fairly comfortable winner of this competitive handicap under jockey Mark Walsh to maintain the good record in this race for trainer Gordon Elliott and the fine run over the week for leading owner J P McManus.

Aramax sauntered into contention turning for home and it looked a question of 'how far' on the run to the final flight. He jumped well yet again when it mattered and stayed on strongest to repel the honest challenge of Night Edition (16-1) by a length in second with his stablemate Saint D'Oroux two lengths further back in third. Gordon Elliott had the fourth home for good measure in Recent Revelations.

"Gordon had him in great fettle," said Walsh. "He won well last time at Naas and hes improved again today."

"This is a nice horse and he's going the right way," added Elliott. "He just does what he has to do but we're very happy with him."

2019 – Band Of Outlaws

Band Of Outlaws was the subject of a sustained gambleand duly delivered. Ridden cold by J J Slevin, the son of Fast Company tanked into contention entering the home straight but was slightly squeezed for room on the run to the final flight

However, that didn’t stop Slevin and his willing companion who demonstrated his fair Flat ability by sprinting up the hill in the style of a smart horse to ultimately record a snug two-length success in the two-mile event.

Band Of Outlaws became a first winner at the Cheltenham Festival for trainer Joseph O’Brien in a week which was overshadowed for the Piltown handler by the death of Sir Erec in the Triumph Hurdle.

2018 - Veneer Of Charm

The Fast Company gelding boasted plenty of Flat racing experience and, on his fourth start over hurdles, was well on top at the line despite his 33-1 starting price for jockey Jack Kennedy and trainer Gordon Elliott.

The victory brought up a day-two treble for Elliott, who would go on to be top trainer at the Cheltenham Festival for the first time.

“Last night I was trying to get a Ryanair flight home,” said Elliott after a surprising reverse for Apple’s Jade 24 hours earlier in the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle. “I was in bed by 9.30pm, but it won’t be the same tonight.”

2017 - Flying Tiger:

Nick Williams finally got to celebrate his first Cheltenham Festival winner when Flying Tiger went two places better than stablemate Coo Star Sivola had managed the previous season with a barnstorming finish from the home turn to get up close home under a determined Richard Johnson.

Flying Tiger had raced quite freely through the early stages of the contest but once settled, he got the strong pace he thrived off.

Although he was disappointing in the Adonis Hurdle at Kempton the previous month, he finally delivered on the promise he had shown earlier in his career in France as he pipped Divin Bere and Nietzsche.

2016 - Diego Du Charmil:

Diego Du Charmil was having his first start since November and made his debut for Paul Nicholls but there had been a buzz about this horse for some time after he apparently worked very well with leading Triumph Hurdle fancy Zubayr.

Produced to perfection on the day, the French-bred gelding stayed on strongly under Sam Twiston-Davies to hold off the challenge from stablemate Romain De Senam but the result could have been very different had the strong-travelling Voix Du Reve not crashed out when about to launch his challenge at the last.

Diego Du Charmil has gone on to have a reasonable career in handicap hurdles and over fences.

2015 - Qualando:

Qualando had won only an ordinary novices’ hurdle at Exeter in the build up to Cheltenham (hence his 25-1 starting price) but he took a major step forward from anything he had done previously on his first run on a sound surface.

A strong stayer at the trip, Qualando saw his race out best of all from the last to lead home a stable one-two (Paul Nicholls also saddled the fifth) and it looked at that time that he was sure to find further big race success, especially over slightly further, but Qualando has left Ditcheat and is not covering himself in similar glory.

2014 - Hawk High:

Despite a Flat pedigree, jumping was always on the agenda for Hawk High according to trainer Tim Easterby, who said after his Fred Winter success: “I'm delighted. He was bred by his owner and as soon as we got him as a two-year-old I had jumping in mind for him.”

Hawk High avoided the fall of Clarcam at the second-last but a notable sufferer was eventual runner-up Katgary, who had to go down as an unlucky loser.

Hawk High tried his luck in Grade One company at Aintree the following month but was put firmly in his place.

2013 - Flaxen Flare:

Gordon Elliott’s sole success in this race came in 2013 when Flaxen Flare, sporting a pair of blinkers for the first time, produced one of the most dominant performances ever seen in this traditionally competitive contest.

Davy Condon had not asked his mount for any serious effort when the pair found themselves in front just after the second-last and he only needed pushing out to clear away and trounce a competitive field.

It was a performance so emphatic that his mark was subsequently hiked up by a full stone and Graded success looked a formality going forward, but it was not to be.

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