Cheltenham Festival under the radar – Coo Star Sivola for Fred Winter
If ever there was a contest at the Cheltenham Festival where a substantial number of runners sneak along under the radar of even the most knowledgeable horse racing enthusiast, then the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle is the one.
The fact that the last four winners have been sent off at 40/1, 25/1, 33/1 and 25/1 testifies to just how much of a minefield the Fred Winter is, with dozens of unexposed youngsters entered that retain plenty of secrets from the handicapper.
Most have had minimal runs, have not been shown over various trips and have been limited in terms of the type of ground they have been able to put their best foot forward on.
Picking the winner on the day is a fine achievement, but a month early before the entry list has even been announced is worthy of some kind of award.
One horse that looks a Fred Winter type and has caught the eye on his two starts this season is the latest member of the Sivola stable of runners.
Gilles Trapenard breeds out of the Haras De Sivola in France and this stud has already provided 2010 National Hunt Chase victor Poker De Sivola and three-time Ladbrokes World Hurdle participant Reve De Sivola among others.
One of the latest talents to emerge is Coo Star Sivola, who may still be waiting for his first victory on British soil, but he has been quickly thrown in at the deep end by trainer Nick Williams.
He was second on debut in a key Triumph Hurdle trial and then third in a Grade 1 at Chepstow last time on ground that appeared too heavy.
The winner Adrien Du Pont has only been beaten once this term by the highly-regarded Sceau Royal and is currently rated 142.
Coo Star Sivola has been handed a mark of 132 for his 10-length defeat, but is capable of improvement on a firmer surface and in a stronger-run race.
He did nothing but stay on in the latter stages of his debut and horses that appear to have that little bit of additional stamina tend to come out on top in the Fred Winter, which can be a war of attrition.
Forget that Coo Star Sivola is still a maiden, he is on a similar mark to recent Fred Winter winners and looks the type of unexposed four-year-old that is suited to this. Coo Star Sivola is currently 25/1 to win the Fred Winter Hurdle.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.