Well we didn't cover ourselves in glory today with a loss of just over 4 points. The rain got into the ground and made things hard work and jumping errors put paid to the chance of two of our three selections.
Our first selection Minella Rocco made a bad blunder 4 out and was quickly pulled up by Barry Geraghty and we hope that he is OK.
Kylemore Lough fared no better as he made a bad blunder at the water which I always think is worse than a fence. He was cruising at the time although it was a long way out and he faded badly after the 4th last and subsequently was pulled up before the next. He will be of interest again.
Our Final selection Rocky's Treasure ran really well but was not match for the first 2, with eventual winner (and heavily punted) Thomas Campbell battling well to come out on top, but we booked a small profit on the EW part of our bet
So we go into day 3 slightly behind. Of the 4 races we analysed there are only 4,5 and 6 runners in each which for the prize money on offer and the stature of the meeting is disappointing, and limits the opportunities for us somewhat.
We do have two against the field in the Greatwood Hurdle,both at decent prices... so let's hope we come out on top for the meeting.
The team at Cleeve
1.50 Cheltenham 2m (1m7f199y) (Old) Racing Post Arkle Trophy Trial Novices' Chase (Registered As The November Novices' Chase) (Grade 2) (Class 1) (4yo+)
Cleeve Top 3 Rated:
1) Capitaine – 37
2) River Wylde – 35
3) North Hill Harvey – 34
A very interesting novice chase with the top three all looking like decent chasers in the making. I do like North Hill Harvey, which won at this meeting for us last year; however, these small field races can be muddling affairs. No Bet.
2.25 Cheltenham 2m (1m7f199y) (Old) Shloer Chase (Registered as The Cheltenham Chase) (Grade 2) (Class 1) (4yo+)
Cleeve Top 3 Rated:
1) Fox Norton – 58
2) Special Tiara – 54
3) Cloudy Dream – 50
This will be a match between Fox Norton and Special Tiara and despite Special Tiara winning by a head here in March I expect Fox Norton to win this time. Neither offer value so no bet, but it should be a good race to watch.
3.00 Cheltenham 2m½f (2m87y) (Old) Unibet Greatwood Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) (Class 1) (4yo+)
Cleeve Top 4 Rated:
1) The New One – 150
2) Chesterfield – 148
3) Tigris River – 129
4) London Prize – 124
Race analysis: – UPDATED
I think the roof will come off at Cheltenham if The New One can win off his big weight giving a minimum of twelve pounds to the field. I do think he will run his usual gutsy race, but will ultimately be passed by some younger improving legs.
London Prize has a penalty for his recent win and that makes this tough, but I do expect him to go well.
Chesterfield was one of the final horses I ruled out and that was mainly due to a combination of his long layoff (winners of this race usually have run within the last six weeks) and a seven pounds claimer up.
There has been a lot of money for Jenkins and Mohaayed, but both come into this off a long break and are now far too short in the betting. Preference of the two of them would be for Mohaayed which looks as if he has been laid out for this by his canny trainer. Elgin is another threat, but he needs to improve, and I am not sure if he is a battler, which he will need to be to win this.
The two we have gone for against the field have a tiger theme and hopefully, they will prove to be as fierce in the heat of battle. Both Flying Tiger – NON RUNNER and Tigris River have won in big, competitive fields like this which is a major plus. Flying Tiger winning the Fred Winter Novice Hurdle here in March and Tigris River winning the Galway Hurdle in his latest run. I think their combined experience in big fields will be vital and their two jockeys have plenty of big race experience and will hopefully have them well positioned coming to the final hurdle.
After careful consideration Mohaayed has been selected to replace Flying Tiger despite his long lay-off, as he has a similar profile to the stables North Hill Harvey which won the race last year. He has been kept away from the racecourse to protect his handicap mark. His price is now reasonable value considering there are three non-runners and we can still get 4 places.
3.30 Cheltenham 2m½f (2m87y) (Old) Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices' Hurdle (Registered as The Sharp Novices' Hurdle) (Grade 2) (Class 1) (4yo+)
Cleeve Top 3 Rated:
1) Slate House – 44
2) Better Getalong – 42
3) Dame De Compagnie – 41
A decent race but again a small field could result in a false pace. Slate House and Dame De Compagnie are the likely winners, but no bet.