Cleeve members selections – Saturday 21st April

Hi everyone,

Our pain continues and the winner's enclosure still eludes us. There is nothing positive really to say about either of our selections today.

Both were very disappointing to say the least and the writing was on the wall for our first selection Cracking Find who drifted like the proverbial barge in the market out to 20/1 before the off. He made most until 5 out but soon lost his place and weakened to finish way down the field

Tara's View didn't fare any better, always in mid-division, she made an awkward mistake 5 out and came straight off the bridle and was struggling from then on.

Weathering runs like these is all about keeping your faith and managing your emotions. We will keep doing things as we always have done and know that results will turn around as they always do. We go back to Ayr which has a good card on offer and we have 4 selections, let's hope we can get back on track.

Good luck,
The team at Cleeve

1.45 Ayr 2m½f (2m110y) Scotty Brand Handicap Chase (Listed Race) (Class 1) (5yo+)

Selections:

Vaniteux 2 points win at 9/2 general

Race Analysis:

Cleeve Top 3 Rated:
1) Forest Bihan – 104
1) Upsilon Bleu – 104
3) Vaniteux – 100

Race analysis:
Upsilon Bleu is two pounds below his last winning rating and should go well here. He was fourth in this race two years back and seems to go well on this type of track. Upsilon Bleu has been running at a lower level this season without looking like winning, so it is tough to see him winning this.

Forest Bihan will undoubtedly give 100% as usual and I am sure that he will be thereabouts despite his high weight. He ran in a bumper (National Hunt Flat Race) last time in a much lower grade after a two month break. I presume that was to sharpen him up for this race and he won as a long odds-on favourite (30/100). I do think he will place but don’t think he can win off his current mark, which is tough in this company.

Vaniteux won this race last season off a six pounds higher mark and has been running generally well in better class races this season. He was not given too hard a race when beaten at Cheltenham on his last start and I can see him winning this again this season.

2.20 Ayr 3m (3m20y) Dawn Homes Novices' Championship Handicap Chase (Class 2) (5yo+)

Selections:

Progress Drive 1 point each way at 25/1 with Bet365 (4 places 1/4 odds)

Race Analysis:

Cleeve Top 4 Rated:
1) Progress Drive – 143
2) Crosshue Boy – 125
3) Barney Dwan – 123
4) Mr Mix – 122

Race analysis:
Mr Mix has plenty of weight here and I think that probably rules him out. He was well beaten by Dingo Dollar last time in a poor race with only three runners. There would need to be a huge improvement for Mr Mix to feature here.

Barney Dwan is a tough competitor but his high weight and price reflect his chances. If he had been double-figure odds he would have likely been the selection here. I think he is going to need to come down the weights before winning again.

Crosshue Boy is an improving novice and ran well over 2 miles last time in a decent handicap, but he is now up against hardened handicappers and it is hard to see him going close. This is a huge step up in trip in a very tough handicap, so I will be interested to see how he goes.

Progress Drive is a very big price especially considering his fantastic record at Ayr and him being top rated by a considerable margin. He has made seven appearances at the course and has won four of those. Progress Drive does need to progress to win here, but he is too big a price to ignore.

2.55 Ayr 2m QTS Scottish Champion Hurdle (A Limited Handicap) (Grade 2) (Class 1) (4yo+)

Selections:

Claimantakinforgan 1 point each way at 8/1 with Bet365 (4 places 1/4 odds)

Race Analysis:

Cleeve Top 4 Rated:
1) Chesterfield – 154
2) Irish Roe – 140
3) Claimantakinforgan – 126
3) Flying Tiger– 122

Race analysis:
Flying Tiger was very disappointing when favourite for the County Hurdle but could be dangerous if returning to form. The trainer’s son takes off seven pounds, which could put Flying Tiger in the mix.

Irish Roe was tempting due to his price, but he also disappointed in the Betfair Hurdle having been in great form prior to the race. The Betfair Hurdle was the first time in seven hurdles that Irish Roe was not in the top two and if back in form he will be a threat.

Chesterfield in another major threat having finished fourth in the County Hurdle and that is very decent form. But Chesterfield can be a bit inconsistent and that was the main reason for ruling him out in the end.

Verdana Blue and Beyond The Clouds are also significant dangers but offer little value.

Claimantakinforgan has some good form on his CV with a fine fifth on heavy ground, a win in a Grade 2 and a third place in the Cheltenham Bumper. Nicky Henderson believes that Claimantakinforgan will be even better on a sound surface and looking at his action I agree. I will be surprised if he does not go close to winning this.

3.30 Ayr 2m4½f (2m4f110y) Jordan Electrics Ltd Future Champion Novices' Chase (Grade 2) (Class 1) (5yo+)

Selections:

NO BET

Race Analysis:

Cleeve Top 3 Rated:
1) Mia’s Storm – 47
2) Adrien Du Pont – 43
3) Peregrine Run – 42

Race analysis:
There are a few decent novices in this chase, but a shame that there is such a low turnout. Too close to call and little opportunity for ew value, so no bet.

4.05 Ayr 4m (3m7f176y) Coral Scottish Grand National Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (Class 1) (5yo+)

Selections:

Regal Flow 1 point each way at 25/1 with Paddypower (6 places)

Race Analysis:

Cleeve Top 4 Rated:
1) Vicente – 309
2) Beware The Bear – 270
3) Silsol – 257
4) Mysteree – 248

Race analysis:
Like most of the long-distance handicaps the trends can help narrow down the field and by doing this I was left with a list of the following:

Regal Flow
Vintage Clouds
Indy Five
Joe Farrell
Glencairn View

I ruled out Vintage Clouds as his win record is poor although in all likelihood he will run into a place.

Joe Farrell is interesting having won last time and although he has yet to prove himself over a longer trip he could be dangerous if staying.

Indy Five is another with stamina questions plus I think he lacks the experience to win a race as competitive as this. I think he could struggle if he goes off to quickly again and could end up being pulled up.

Glencairn View is interesting and could prove the biggest danger to our selection, he has steadily improved and if he stays he will go close. He shapes like a stayer and if handling ground quicker than he is used to he will place.

Vicente is aiming for a three-timer in this race, which would be an amazing achievement for both horse and trainer, but he has not been in the best form so may have to settle for a place this time.

Regal Flow may be eleven, but that age statistic is strong for this race and he has improved for stepping up in trip. He won the Midlands Grand National so definitely stays and his jumping is usually sound. Regal Flow copes with quicker ground and his handicap mark looks fair so at the price I am keen to be with him.

4.40 Ayr 2m5½f (2m5f91y) Ayrshire Hospice Land O'Burns Starlight Walk Handicap Hurdle (Class 2) (4yo+ 0-155)

Selections:

NO BET

Race Analysis:

Cleeve Top 3 Rated:
1) Moon Racer – 123
2) William Henry – 117
3) Tomngerry – 116

Race analysis:
If Moon Racer retains any of his ability he could well hose up here, but there are just too many question marks about him. It is also a very competitive race with at least half a dozen in with some kind of chance so as we are already busy I will give this one a miss… no bet.