not a good day at the office today.
We started off OK with Mr Fisher in the Marsh Novice chase who was a little untidy with his jumping but ran on well on the run in to finish 4th. Then we had Third Wind and Jatiluwih in the Pertemps. Third Wind was held out the back by Tom O'Brien and was 4th coming over the last and just stayed on the one place to keep 4th spot. Jatiluwih made a mistake at the 7th and looked outpaced two out but stayed on to go past beaten horses to come in 8th yet again just outside the 7 places we advised.
In the Ryanair Riders Onthe Storm was just creeping into the race and met the third last all wrong and fell. Whether he would have been involved in the finish we will never know.
In the Stayers, we were right to be against the odds on favourite Paisley Park who was soundly beaten. The winner Lisnagar Oscar sluiced in at 50/1 - if you picked that one well done as it hasn't won a race all season. Happy days for connections.
Finally, we had Le Le Breuil in the Kim Muir and to be honest I was very bullish about his chances. The Codd Father tried to nurse him into the race but he just wasn't good enough on the day and trailed in 11th
All in all a disappointing day and we need a couple of winners tomorrow to get our heads back in front.
We will be taking a breather on Saturday and the only race we will be having selections in is the Midlands National som we will be back Friday.
The team at Cleeve
Cheltenham Day 3 results
|March Novice Chase||Mr Fisher||1 pt ew@11/2 ( 4 places)||4th||0.25|
|Pertemps||Third Wind||0.5pt ew @ 10/1||4th||0.7|
|Pertemps||Jatiluwih||0.5pt ew @ 16/1||8th||-1|
|Ryanair||Riders Onthe Storm||1pt ew @ 7/1||Fell||-2|
|Stayers Hurdle||City Island||1pt ew @ 12/1||PU||-2|
|Brown Advisory||Clandaw Castle||NR||NR||0|
|Kim Muir||Le Breuil||1.5pts ew @ 13/2||11th||-3|
1.30 Cheltenham 2m1f (2m179y) (New) JCB Triumph Hurdle (Grade 1) (Class 1) (4yo)
Cleeve Top 4 Rated:
1) Allmankind – 124
2) Goshen – 122
3) Solo – 117
4) A Wave Of The Sea – 113
There looks like there will be joint or close to joint-favourites in Solo and Goshen here and both have looked talented in their six starts to date.
Solo was very impressive when winning last time in the Adonis Hurdle at Kempton and he could well improve on that. He is the highest-rated horse on official ratings by some margin, but I just have a niggling doubt about the form of the Adonis.
Goshen if you were to believe the Festival Preview evenings across the country could well be a cross between Arkle, Shergar and Sea Pigeon, but he has not run in a Graded contest and that is a big question mark. His trainer also has an awful record in hurdles at the Festival and his price looks mighty skinny for what he has achieved to date.
Aspire Tower fell last time, which is a negative although he was in contention when falling at the last and the race was won by A Wave Of The Sea. Aspire Tower had won both his hurdle races prior to that including the Grade 2 Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown over Christmas. I think Aspire Tower will overturn the form with A Wave Of The Sea.
Allmankind is unbeaten in three hurdles and has won at Grade 2 and 1 and I think if he was trained by Nicky Henderson or Paul Nicholls, he would be clear favourite for this. He has a smooth hurdling style and if he stays out of bother, I think he will take all the beating here.
2.10 Cheltenham 2m1f (2m179y) (New) Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) (Class 1) (5yo+)
Cleeve Top 4 Rated:
1) Zanza – 237
2) Stolen Silver – 218
3) Aramon – 207
4) Mohaayed – 206
A huge cavalry charge here and few lurking low down the handicap that could spring a surprise such as Saint Roi and Elusive Belle.
It is rare that our ratings throw up such a huge gap at the top of the ratings and I have learnt over the years to trust those ratings!
Mohaayed bids to make it four in five years for the Skelton yard and he has top-class form and ran in this race last season. He has dropped eleven pounds by then, which makes him well handicapped, but only if he is on form and he has proven disappointing this year. If he wins you could say that tactical handicapping has been at play but good luck to the stable if that is the case.
Aramon is the one I ruled out last and that was mainly due to his high weight although Willie Mullins has a super record in this race with four wins. Former flat racers have a good record in this race and Aramon is one such horse, but he is a much better hurdler than he is a flat racer. He has Grade 1 form on the books and could run away with this.
Stolen Silver has also been running in Graded races and won a small field Grade 2 at Haydock in January. He then ran well enough in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury and that is a key race for this one. I just think he lacks something, and I think he is more able to dominate small fields, but this is a completely different proposition.
Plenty of threats as usual in these big field handicaps and these include Adjali and Ciel De Neige.
Zanza actually finished in front of Mohaayed in another key race the Greatwood run here in November finishing just behind Coral Cup winner Dame De Compagnie. Despite that being decent form, he is over three times the price of his rival and he then finished ahead of Stolen Silver in the Betfair but is ten points longer in the market than that rival. I think at the odds and based on the ratings we would be mad to ignore him, and he is worth a bet.
2.50 Cheltenham 3m (2m7f213y) (New) Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1) (Registered As The Spa Novices' Hurdle) (Class 1) (4yo+)
Cleeve Top 4 Rated:
1) Latest Exhibition – 175
1) Thyme Hill – 175
3) Fury Road – 163
4) Monkfish – 154
The last twenty winners of this race had already won a Grade 1 and that statistic rules out the Mullins contender Monkfish, which is very short in the market considering his form on the book. He has not even run in a Graded race.
Fury Road looks to be held by Latest Exhibition and is another one that has not won at Grade 1 level. It could be that he needed the run, but it looked as if he was struggling to go at Grade 1 pace.
Cobblers Way is fifth rated and was second last time behind Latest Exhibition and I think he could be a threat this time round. His trainer won this last season and Rachel Blackmore has proven her abilities at the last two festivals.
It was almost impossible to separate Thyme Hill and Latest Exhibition as both have pretty much identical records. Paul Nolan sends Latest Exhibition over from Ireland where he won his Grade 1 at Leopardstown. I have gone for his rival as he tends to jump better and more importantly has Cheltenham and Festival experience. I was tempted to go for Latest Exhibition due to his bigger price, but I just think Thyme Hill has just got that little bit more class.
3.30 Cheltenham 3m2½f (3m2f70y) (New) Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase (Grade 1) (Class 1) (5yo+)
Cleeve Top 3 Rated:
1) Al Boum Photo – 299
2) Kemboy – 288
3) Santini – 284
Clan Des Obeaux is now available at 8/1 in places with 4 places so if not already backed the advice is 1 point EW
Last year’s winner Al Boum Photo has a really good chance of retaining his trophy; however, we have seen how hard it is to have back to back wins in this blue riband race. He has only had the one run this season winning a Grade 3 at Tramore on New Year’s Day. Willie Mullins is an undoubted master, but this may even be a bridge too far for him!
Santini won on his last run at Cheltenham in the Cotswold Chase at Grade 2 level. He has run well at the Festival in the last two seasons over fences in last year’s RSA finishing second to Topofthegame (in front of Delta Work in 3rd) and third the previous year in the Alfred Bartlett. He should stay, but his price is too skinny for a horse with limited experience – he’s had only 9 career runs under rules due to an injury-hit career.
Kemboy remains an enigma to some extent having put up a superb performance to beat Al Boum Photo at Punchestown in April. He has since been caught up in the collapse of Supreme Racing and had a bit of an interrupted preparation with weeks on the sidelines. Kemboy has since run twice being beaten twice by Delta Work both times and that one is three points shorter in the betting as a result. I do think Kemboy has the talent to win the Gold Cup if he truly stays, but I remain unconvinced about his jumping under pressure.
Like all Gold Cups there are a multitude of other challengers with previous winner Native River, Delta Work, Presenting Percy and Lostintranslation all having the talent to win this.
Clan Des Obeaux has been described by many as a non-stayer but he finished fifth in this race last year as a seven-year-old and I actually think he would have gone closer but for Paul Nicholls running him at Ascot less than a month before the race. I think that may have just put him over the top and this year not having raced since impressively winning his second King George on Boxing Day by 21 lengths should see him cherry-ripe for this. I think he has such a high cruising speed that he can go around in third gear before accelerating coming down the hill. His price looks generous to me and I am looking forward to this race more than any other at the Festival at this stage.
4.10 Cheltenham 3m2½f (3m2f70y) (New) St. James's Place Foxhunter Challenge Cup Open Hunters' Chase (Class 2) (5yo+)
Cleeve Top 4 Rated:
1) Hazel Hill – 236
2) Caid Du Berlais – 169
3) Minella Rocco – 159
4) Marcle Ridge – 155
I think you need to be really close to a stable or to the point to point world to know this race. The horses that finished in the top five in the previous year’s contest usually do well and that list includes Shantou Flyer, Top Wood and last year’s winner Hazel Hill and the first and latter named are likely to go well.
Other horses of note include the enigmatic Minella Rocco and Staker Wallace, but nothing for us to back here, so just enjoy the spectacle. No Bet.
4.50 Cheltenham 2m½f (2m62y) (New) Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (Class 1) (5yo+)
Cleeve Top 4 Rated:
1) Capeland – 200
2) Gino Trail – 168
3) Mcgroarty – 161
4) Greaneteen – 159
Paul Nicholls has been doing well in this race of late and has two of our top four rated Capeland and Greaneteen and the latter is a short-priced favourite here. Capeland has been running in Graded contests without much success; however, I do think he can go well here at a big price. I do not see him winning off his weight and at best he may place.
Gino Trail is amazing and now at the age of 13 runs in his third Grand Annual. He was pulled up last season but finished as runner up in 2018. He has reasonable miles on the clock but hard to see him getting involved at the finish.
Mcgroarty is plenty high in the weights after winning three races back to back before being pulled up last time. I think he will struggle off this mark and his price reflects his chances.
The favourite Greaneteen has only had eight races including three over fences, which he has won all and his stable form in this race has resulted in him being forecast as favourite. I am sure that there is more improvement to come, but he looks high enough in the weights considering the level he has been running at to date.
Éclair De Beaufeu has been competing at Graded level until winning a decent handicap last time at Leopardstown, where he tired on the run-in. That race should have put him spot-on for this race and I expect him to be thereabouts at the finish. He is double the price of the favourite and we can play each way.
5.30 Cheltenham 2m4½f (2m4f56y) (New) Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle (Class 2) (4yo+ 0-145)
Cleeve Top 4 Rated:
1) Flash The Steel – 221
2) Umbrigado – 214
3) Espoir De Romay – 211
4) Escaria Ten – 200
This race in recent years has been dominated by Irish trained winners notably trained by Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott.
The top three rated are all UK trained and I do not think any of them will win this. Umbrigado is trained by David Pipe, who I am sure would be thrilled to win the race named for his father. His record is 0-19, but Umbrigado brings Graded form and I do think of the top three rated is most likely to place.
Escaria Ten is a reserve and needs one to come out to take part and if he does, he could be the biggest threat to our selection.
Flash the Steel comes from the Skelton stable and they have had a quiet week so far, as I write this on Wednesday evening. Flash The Steel won a Grade 3 at Chepstow before disappointing on his latest start and I would want to see a return to form before backing him again.
There are multiple challengers including Pilean, Front View, Column Of Fire and Five O’Clock (last one ruled and mainly due to the weight).
The Bosses Oscar is trained by Gordon Elliott and has had a gentle introduction to hurdles and after three runs has not been out of the first two. He definitely needs to improve to win this, but watching his races suggests to me that he is certainly capable of improving by several pounds. The small field last time did not suit, but this race with 24 runners run at pace should suit him much more. I expect him to place at least and will hopefully give us a win to sign off on a high note.