Cleeve members selections – Friday 24th November

Hi everyone,

I'm not sure what we have to do to get a winner at the moment... Firstly the favourite River Frost was pulled out mid morning which resulted in a Rule 4 of 35p, so the price was gone. Then he stumbled on the bend, how the jockey stayed on board I don't know. Coming over the last I thought we had it in the bag, but Arthur's Gift overhauled him on the run in. I do think that with a clear run he would probably have won. But it's going that way at the moment.

So we go again and have a couple of selections at Ascot... let's hope something goes right for us as we have had our share of bad luck already this month!

Good luck,
The team at Cleeve

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2.40 Ascot 2m5f (2m5f8y) Waitrose Handicap Chase (Class 2) (4yo+ 0-145)


Ballotin 1 point EW at 6/1 William Hill, Betfair and Paddypower

Race Analysis:

Cleeve Top 3 Rated:
1) Kilcrea Vale – 74
2) Thomas Brown – 72
3) Ballotin – 69

Race analysis:
Thomas Brown would have to be at his very best to win this off his current mark. Although that is not impossible, it is improbable, and a place is probably his best chance.

Pougne Bobbi and Voix D’Eau are both contenders but I think the following two analysed have better chances at the weights.

I guess the easy option here would be to pick the Nicky Henderson trained Kilcrea Vale at a track the stable does well with. However, I do have concerns about Kilcrea Vale’s jumping and watching a video of his last race and a couple of his previous chases he does make bad mistakes and last time tended to jump right when coming under pressure. Until his jumping improves I am not going to trust him, although he does have scope to improve and I am sure he has been heavily schooled since last seen in May.

Ballotin is an interesting recruit from France and has a strong win rate over fences and is at his best with some cut. He does stay, and his jumping is usually spot on and despite having an amateur on board I have no concerns about David Maxwell’s ability. With David taking off seven pounds I think Ballotin is incredibly well weighted for what he has achieved.

3.50 Ascot 1m7½f (1m7f152y) Coutts Handicap Hurdle (Class 2) (4yo+ 0-145)


Midnight Maestro 2 ;points Win at 9/2 Paddypower, Totespsort and Betfred

Race Analysis:

Cleeve Top 3 Rated:
1) Speredek – 115
2) Midnight Maestro – 112
3) Don Bersy – 106

Race analysis:
I am sure Peter The Mayo Man (fourth top rated) will be fancied by many due to his stable connections, but he has too much weight for me and it will take him to be at his very best to win this.

Verdana Blue is another one which will attract money due to connections and will probably strip fitter having had a run twenty days ago. He too has too much weight but should place.

Don Bersy was well beaten on atrocious ground on his seasonal debut and I think that may well have taken his chances away here as it was a real slog. If he has fully recovered, he is definitely a danger.

Speredek was very impressive when winning last time by 15 lengths and that has seen a big rise in the weights and a seven pounds penalty. That was his fourth win in a row – three chases and then a hurdle last time. He could well have more to offer, but I think the weight rise, penalty and a rise in class will see him place at best.

Midnight Maestro finished behind Greatwood Hurdle winner, Elgin, on his seasonal return and was level coming to the second last before running out of puff. He will be in better shape tomorrow and with Barry Geraghty, who rides Ascot better than anyone, on board he should win this. I think he has more scope than most in this race and if his hurdling is slick he will be hard to beat in the final furlong.