A very warm welcome to everyone who has joined us for the Jumps season campaign, hopefully we'll have a lot of fun together and bank a healthy profit too!
Firstly we have to start with an apology... we looked long and hard at tomorrow's racing at Cheltenham and out of the 4 Class 2 races (or above) we have concluded that there just isn't a worthwhile bet to be had which is very rare for us.
We know that's probably not you wanted to hear on the opening day but we are not going to put up a bet just for the sake of it. It's a long season and the Open meeting runs over 3 days, so we will have plenty of opportunities to have selections.
We have given you all the ratings and written up the reasoning behind the lack of selections for each race below, so if you decide to play yourself it provides some guide... in summary
13:50 BetVictor Handicap Chase - far too trappy with the only horse in form; Exitas having to handle a 10lb rise in the weights and offers no value at quotes around 5/2
2:25 Steel Plate And Sections Novices' Chase - One of our Notebook Horses Finian's Oscar should win this but as we don't play at odds on (or in races with less than 6 runners), he is not a betting proposition for us
3:00 Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase - not the kind of race we play in at all.
3:35 Ballymore Novices' Hurdle - This is a very difficult Novice hurdle where anyone of 4 could win, and with only 6 runners, offers us no EW angle.
A crucial part in making profits at this game is knowing when to keep your powder dry and resist having bets for the sake of it, so we make no excuses for the lack of selections on the first day at Cheltenham.
The team at Cleeve
1.50 Cheltenham 2m (1m7f199y) (Old) BetVictor Handicap Chase (Class 2) (4yo+ 0-150)
Cleeve Top 3 Rated:
1) Shanahan’s Turn – 83
2) Bright New Dawn – 81
3) Festive Affair – 79
I was quite tempted to put up Shanahan’s Turn dropping back into handicap company, but I am concerned about the trip which is very much on the sharp side for him. He also has a lay off of 478 days to overcome, and this could be a sharpener for him that tells the new stable what they have to work with… saying that he is very much the class act in the race having won at Grade Two level in Ireland.
Exitas with James Bowen taking off five pounds looks dangerous as he is in rude form, and Un Beau Roman who won this race last year from a 2lb higher mark could have been targeted at this again by his very shrewd connections.
It’s a good race to watch for future winners, but with us likely to have a few bets over the three days I don’t mind just watching this race but for us it is safety first, and no bet.
2.25 Cheltenham 2m4½f (2m4f78y) (Old) Steel Plate And Sections Novices' Chase (Class 2) (4yo+)
Cleeve Top 3 Rated:
1) Finian’s Oscar – 39
2) William Henry – 35
3) Movewiththetimes – 34
Finian’s Oscar should win this comfortably, but for a prestigious race it is a very poor turn out for the money with just 4 runners. It’s too difficult to split Movewiththetimes and William Henry who both had smart hurdles form (slight preference for the former) for a forecast, so again no bet.
3.00 Cheltenham 3m6f (3m6f37y) (X-Country) Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase (Class 2) (5yo+)
Cleeve Top 4 Rated:
1) Cause of Causes – 104
2) Aubusson – 96
3) Urgent De Gregaine – 90
3) Kingswell Theatre – 90
I normally avoid these races like the plague, but do enjoy the spectacle. Despite trawling through the form and thinking that Kingswell Theatre represents some value at the weights, I think he can place, but don’t think he can win so it rules him out as an each way proposition. The picture is further clouded by multiple CD winners in the field and just makes this race too tough to call. No Bet.
3.35 Cheltenham 2m5f (2m5f26y) (Old) Ballymore Novices' Hurdle (Grade 2) (Registered As The Hyde Novices' Hurdle) (Grade 2) (Class 1) (4yo+)
Cleeve Top 3 Rated:
1) Vision Des Flos – 55
2) Momella – 54
3) Poetic Rhythm – 52
I had hoped this race would throw something up, but given there are only 6 going to post, it is a red hot novice hurdle which looks to have several future winners going head to head.
Poetic Rhythm beat Vision Des Flos last time, but a five pound penalty should see that form reversed here. There are serious dangers in On The Blind Side, Calett Mad and Momella but none of these shout value. So, we will have to wait until Saturday for our first bet at the meeting.