Cheltenham Festival win only Yankee

Hi there,

We do feel that it has got a bit much that 'all roads lead to Cheltenham', and has got to the point where it is to the detriment of the rest of the Jumps season which plenty of other fine meetings. Every winner seems to be greeted with a shortened quote for a target race in March, and to be honest some are quite ridiculous.

Pundits and bookmakers alike have no hesitation in jumping on the Festival band wagon and if you can't beat them you might as well join them! We have been casting our eye over some of the feature races and have come up with a small stakes win only Yankee. It is of course fairly speculative given that not only has each selection got to actually get there, but they have to line up for the race that we have backed them for as well!

But if they do both those things they will be very much shorter than they are now and it's also a bit of fun to keep you warm through the cold winter months! With the best odds of nearly 1,600/1 with bet365 should we somehow find all 4 winners, we are certainly getting working man's odds...

The very best of luck
The team at Cleeve

Supreme Novices Hurdle - Tuesday 15th March 2022

Selections:

Sir Gerhard

Race Analysis:

Age                 6 (Foaled 5th March 2015)
Trainer           W P Mullins
Sex                 Gelding
Sire                 Jeremy
Dam               Faanan Aldaar
Owner           Cheveley Park Stud

Willie Mullins has thrown the cat amongst the ante-post pigeons when he said in his recent stable tour that Sir Gerhard will probably go to the Ballymore while Kilcruit is more likely to contest the Supreme. Sir Gerhard had been antepost favourite for the race since his Festival Bumper win, while Kilcruit was widely expected to line up in the Ballymore.

It won’t be the first time that Mullins has made the wrong call about one of his horses before the start of a season, and to our eyes Sir Gerhard is the much speedier looking of the two, the fact that he has now drifted to 10/1 is just a bonus to our eyes.

Sir Gerhard arrived on the scene with a big reputation and a whopping 400,000 gns price tag. A bloodless win on his rules debut for Gordon Elliott saw the bookies quickly running for cover and they made him as short as 5/1 for the Champion NH Flat Race at Cheltenham. Their fear was well-founded as now trained by Willie Mullins, he won under an inspired ride from Rachel Blackmore beating the new favourite, Kilcruit. He did lose his unbeaten record at Punchestown where Kilcruit gained his revenge, but the race was run much more for stamina than had been the case at Cheltenham and Sir Gerhard also seemed to run a bit flat, which was understandable given he had been trained with just the one race in mind.

  • Best single odds – 10/1 with bet365 and Unibet
  • Best multiple odds – 10/1 with bet365

Marsh Novices Chase - Thursday 17th March 2022

Selections:

Bob Olinger

Race Analysis:

Age                 6 (Foaled 11th May 2015)
Trainer           H De Bromhead
Sex                 Gelding
Sire                Sholokhov
Dam               Zenaide
Owner           Robcour

There is no doubt about it; Bob Olinger is one of the most exciting prospects around and he is our idea of next year’s Festival banker to take The Marsh Novices Chase… for which he is currently quoted as the 3/1 favourite.

He came to rules with a very high reputation and duly won his only bumper start before being put away. When he made his hurdling bow, he was only beaten a length by the Festival winner, Ferny Hollow. To show that much speed over two miles must have delighted his connections.

He went off the strongly backed 6/4 favourite in what looked quite a deep Ballymore, and landed the spoils with a minimum of fuss, always travelling and jumping well. He led two out on the bridle and quickened clear to put the race to bed.

He is a rangy type who looks to be a top-class chaser in the making. He will probably start over the minimum trip, but connections will be keen to see him step up to intermediate trips as we wouldn’t be at all surprised if they have got the 2023 Gold Cup at the back of their minds!

  • Best single odds – 3/1 with various firms
  • Best multiple odds – 3/1 with bet365

Ryanair Chase - Thursday 17th March 2022

Selections:

Allaho

Race Analysis:

Age             7 (Foaled 14th April 2014)
Trainer       W P Mullins
Sex              Gelding
Sire             No Risk At All
Dam            Idaho Falls
Owner        Cheveley Park Stud

Allaho is another one who’s connections seemingly don’t seem to know his best trip. He ran a fine 3rd in the 2020 RSA Chase over 3 miles only finishing a length behind last year’s Gold Cup winner; Minella Indo. He also started off last year’s campaign over 3 miles but was then dropped back in distance and looked mightily impressive when putting a deep looking Ryanair field to the sword, making all and jumping spectacularly. He looked the winner, from a long way out and it was one of the performances of the week.

It was a bit of surprise to see him again dropped back in trip to take on Chacun Por Soi in the Irish Champion Chase at Punchestown, especially as he hadn’t run over the minimum trip since his bumper days. But Willie Mullins has said publicly that he hasn’t given up all hope he could win a Champion Chase over two miles.

But to us he looks nailed on for the Ryanair Chase again, and a fast run race over 2 ½ miles looks ideal. If he gets there in one piece it is odds on that he will go off at a much shorter price than is available now and we’d be quite surprised to see him odds against.

  • Best single odds – 7/2 with various firms
  • Best multiple odds – 7/2 with bet365

Gold Cup - Thursday 17th March 2022

Selections:

A Plus Tard

Race Analysis:

Age             7 (Foaled 6th February 2014)
Trainer        H De Bromhead
Sex              Gelding
Sire             Kapgarde
Dam            Turboka
Owner        Cheveley Park Stud

A Plus Tard burst on to the scene when he ran away with the Close Brothers Novice Handicap at the 2019 Festival, winning as he liked by 16 lengths. The boys at Timeform said of the performance (and they know a thing or three about racehorses) “it’s hard to say quite where his limit may lie “.

2022 may be the year we find out! Two Grade One wins have come since, along with a fine 3rd in last year’s Gold Cup behind Minella Indo when he didn’t really have the run of the race and was only beaten a length and a quarter. He was ridden a bit more cautiously to get the trip than the winner that day and it may have cost him the race, as he had plenty of ground to make up from the turn home.

The age is the big factor with A Plus Tard… that and the fact that connections now have confidence that he stays the Gold Cup trip so he can be trained specifically for the race and ridden with a bit more confidence in his stamina.

Being a year younger he can be expected to make a bit more improvement with another year on his back than the horse that beat him and there are plenty of reasons to think he can turn last year’s form around.

  • Best single odds – 7/1 with various firms
  • Best multiple odds – 7/1 with bet365