Cleeve members selections – Saturday 25th November

Hi everyone,

There was plenty of scratching of heads and gnashing of teeth in our offices today!

Our first selection Ballotin drifted all the way out to a crazy 16/1 today so you could be forgiven he'd come out of his box with a leg missing... but looked the likely winner three out as he tanked through the race. However the protracted duel with Kilcrea Vale was always going to leave him vulnerable to a late finisher and he had no answer when fortunate George swept through between the last two. It was a very creditable effort though and he remains of interest.

Then came the gnashing of teeth with our next selection Midnight Maestro who made a complete hash of the first and just never got going after... I was sure that Barry Geraghty would pull him up. I can't believe this was the same horse that ran in the Greatwood and finished virtually upsides today's winner Verdana Blue, but that's the way our luck seems to be going at the moment.

These things go in cycles so we just have to sit tight and wait for things to turn as they inevitably will. We go back into battle again and have 4 selections to get our teeth into so let's get down to it...

Good luck,
The team at Cleeve

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12.20 Ascot 2m5½f (2m5f141y) Mitie Events & Leisure Novices' Hurdle (Class 2) (4yo+)

Selections:

NO SELECTION

Race Analysis:

Cleeve Top 3 Rated:
1) Perfect Harmony – 82
2) Take To Heart – 81
3) Count Meribel – 78

Race analysis:
This looks to be a very decent novice event but not one for betting purposes. Take To Heart could provide H.M. The Queen with a winner. No Bet.

 

1.15 Haydock 2m5½f (2m5f127y) Cash Out In-Play With Betfair Graduation Chase (Class 2) (4yo+)

Selections:

NO SELECTION

Race Analysis:

Cleeve Top 3 Rated:
1) Cyrus Darius – 53
2) Clan Des Obeaux – 53
3) Big River – 52

Race analysis:
This is a top class race, but too tough to call so no bet. I do like Clan Des Obeaux but there are too many dangers.

 

1.50 Haydock 2m3f (2m2f191y) Betfair Exchange Handicap Hurdle (Class 2) (4yo+)

Selections:

Verni 1 point each way at 6/1 Bet365 (1/4 Odds a place)

Race Analysis:

Cleeve Top 3 Rated:
1) Clyne – 88
2) Verni – 79
3) Value At Risk – 77

Race analysis:
Value At Risk has won at Graded level over hurdles before going chasing, but now back over hurdles seems to have lost his sparkle. If he was to return to his best he would have a real chance in this race, but no evidence of that recently.

Clyne likes Haydock and probably would have been the selection if Adam Wedge was riding but an unfamiliar, inexperienced jockey put me off. I am also concerned about his stamina as in this ground he will need to stay further than 2 miles 4 furlongs.

Verni will give Clyne most to do and was second over further in the Martin Pipe Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival back in March. He was beaten soundly by Clyne over two miles, but will be a different proposition over further especially if Richard Johnson rides. His forecast price makes him a bet as it is over double what I was expecting.

 

2.05 Ascot 2m5f (2m5f8y) Christy 1965 Chase (Grade 2) (Class 1) (4yo+)

Selections:

Top Notch 2 points to win at 3/1 generally

Race Analysis:

Cleeve Top 3 Rated:
1) Top Notch – 83
2) Smad Place – 77
3) Top Gamble – 75

Race analysis:
Smad Place won the Old Roan Chase at Aintree over a distance, which I would have considered too short. Over the last few years Smad Place has shown his best further than 3 miles, but that latest run certainly puts him in the mix again here. His price is too short as I think this race is more competitive.

Top Gamble is better over shorter, and I think he would prefer much softer going than he will get at Ascot tomorrow. He tends to jump well, but will find his stamina stretched and may place at best.

Frodon and Fling Angel are also threats, but I expect our selection to prove to be at a higher level.

Top Notch is 2/2 at Ascot and I expect him to continue that unbeaten run tomorrow. He is still improving as a chaser and if Smad Place is not given an easy lead I think Top Notch will have too many gears in the final furlong. His jumping is good, and I think he will be pulling away going over the last.

 

2.25 Haydock 2m7f (2m6f177y) Betfair Stayers' Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) (Class 1) (4yo+)

Selections:

The Worlds End 2 points to win at 11/2 Ladbrokes, Betfred and Totesport

Race Analysis:

Cleeve Top 4 Rated:
1) The Worlds End – 151
2) Zarkandar – 148
3) Sam Spinner – 146
4) Le Rocher – 140

Race analysis:
If Paul Nicholls has Zarkandar anywhere near his best then his price of 20/1 will look madly generous; however, Zarkandar’s last few runs have been very poor.

Sam Spinner will definitely be a contender if he stays but he has yet to run beyond 2 miles 4 furlongs. He hurdles well and has not been out of the top two in all of his seven career runs. The ground also may prove to be too soft for his liking although he does handle soft going.

Le Rocher was well beaten by Sam Spinner on their seasonal debut, but this heavy going and the step up in trip should suit. The stable has done well in this race previously and I think Le Rocher will be much sharper this time. If our selection was not in the race I would probably have split stakes between Sam Spinner and Le Rocher.

The Worlds End would have won the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham and then won the Sefton at Aintree, which marked him out as one of the best staying novices around. If he is fit and does not fall I think he will win this comfortably. If he had run already I would have made him a bigger bet.

 

2.40 Ascot 2m3½f (2m3f58y) Coral Hurdle (Registered As The Ascot Hurdle) (Grade 2) (Class 1) (4yo+)

Selections:

NO SELECTION

Race Analysis:

Cleeve Top 3 Rated:
1) L’Ami Serge – 47
2) Lil Rockerfeller – 45
2) Defi Du Seuil – 45

Race analysis:
I do think Defi Du Seuil (one of Ten to Follow) maybe vulnerable here despite being odds on favourite, as it is likely to be run at a muddling pace and on seasonal debut the extra trip may find him out fitness wise. Therefore due to the possibility of a muddling place and being odds on we will have to pass this time round.

 

3.00 Haydock 3m1½f (3m1f125y) Betfair Chase (Grade 1) (Registered As The Lancashire Chase) (Class 1) (5yo+)

Selections:

Outlander 2 points to win at 5/1 generally

Race Analysis:

Cleeve Top 3 Rated:
1) Cue Card – 56
2) Outlander – 50
2) Tea For Two – 50

Race analysis:
For the life of me I cannot understand why Bristol De Mai is such a short priced favourite, as I think our top three rated have more claims as winners.
Cue Card could struggle on the heavy ground and we could see further jumping errors, but if he is able to get out of the ground he could well stroll this. He won this race at a canter last season, but I think this is a stronger renewal and younger legs will prevail.

Tea For Two hammered Bristol De Mai in a Novice Chase at Sandown and has since beaten Cue Card at Aintree, which makes a mockery of his price. I do think he will struggle in the ground, despite having won on heavy in a poor Class 2. Tea For Two was disappointing first time out unless he was given a deliberately easy race.

Outlander won the James Nicholson Chase at Down Royal staying on well and is one which will relish both the trip and the going. Outlander has now won three Grade 1 races and I expect he will add a fourth tomorrow. The stable is in flying form and Gordon Elliott will have Outlander primed for this big prize.

3.15 Ascot 2m1f (2m167y) Shawbrook Handicap Chase (Class 2) (4yo+)

Selections:

NO SELECTION

Race Analysis:

Cleeve Top 3 Rated:
1) Sire De Grugy – 72
2) Upsilon Bleu – 71
3) San Benedeto – 70

Race analysis:
We had Sire De Grugy at 8/1 to win this race last season, but this time he offers no value although he could win the race again. The race is more competitive this year and San Benedeto represents a real threat. No Bet.

3.35 Haydock 3m1½f (3m1f125y) Best Odds Guaranteed With Betfair Handicap Chase (Class 2) (4yo+ 0-145)

Selections:

NO SELECTION

Race Analysis:

Cleeve Top 3 Rated:
1) Chase The Spud – 87
2) Ballymalin – 85
3) Baywing – 84

Race analysis:
I found it impossible to split the top three rated so no bet.