The Boodles (formerly known as the Fred Winter) is a tricky puzzle to solve, but I like one at a big price, Hell Red.
The Paul Nicholls-trained juvenile finished second on his sole start in France a year ago, staying on nicely to claim second behind the Francois Nicolle-trained Monmiral. He was also snapped up by Nicholls and has since developed into a high-class hurdler, bolting up at Haydock in February, and is rated 147.
Hell Red started off at Chepstow in a race Nicholls has farmed over the years and won impressively, albeit with little to beat. His trainer was very complimentary about him afterwards and, on the back of that run, he was sent off a very warm favourite for the Grade 2 at Cheltenham in November, in which Adagio finished second. He reportedly made a noise that day and had a wind op the following week.
He was undeniably disappointing on his return to action last month, but he was a shade keen on heavy ground and the vibes from the yard were that he would come on for the run.
His recent work has reportedly been very good indeed and there is absolutely no doubt that a mark of 131 is well within his compass at some stage. He has a wonderful pedigree and it is worth noting Nicholls won this with his third-string (in terms of odds) in 2015, Qualando. He had also run in late February and not been particularly impressive, and was running in the Fred Winter off the same mark as Hell Red.
0.5pt each-way Hell Red @ 40-1 6 places (Skybet, Paddy Power)