Friday, January 25, 2019

Cheltenham Trials Day 2019 - The Cleeve Hurdle

Earlier this afternoon I thought Federici looked an interesting each-way play in the Sky Bet Chase (3.15 Doncaster) at odds of 14/1.

Last year Donald McCain's charge finished fifth in this race behind Wakanda (Warriors Tale second), beaten under three lengths, and tomorrow he tries off a mark one pound lower.

The horse appears to have been trained with this in mind; admittedly, stable form has been dubious of late, but Constancio (5/2) won easily enough at the track today while Ballasalla (13/2) was only beaten a neck and would surely have come home in front had he not made mistakes at three of the final four flights.

The problem is others with a similar idea have gone and backed the beast so now he's generally a 10/1 shot...

I tend to think the Sky Bet often goes the way of a horse with fewer miles on the clock so instead I've decided to take a chance in the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham.

With twelve declared, this year's competitive renewal contains an intriguing mix of younger horses hoping to enhance their reputations and more experienced animals who, for a variety of reasons, are now back over the smaller obstacles having had a try at the larger ones.

A couple have caught my eye at a price.

You couldn't back Sam Spinner with any sort of confidence after two consecutive unseatings but he is joint top-rated on Racing Post ratings and is quoted at 14/1 in places this evening.

Ladbrokes offer 22/1 (one fifth the odds four places) about last year's winner Agrapart. Joint top-rated, this one has a clear chance on the book but that victory came on heavy ground.

West Approach was third behind Unowhatimeanharry in the 2017 renewal and is rated a 14/1 shot this time. He has been struggling over fences but ran well when reverting to hurdles to claim second behind Paisley Park in the Long Walk last time; he receives weight from eight of his 11 rivals.

Of the market principals Black Op races beyond two miles five for the first time on a British racecourse (although he won a point over three miles at Loughanmore in 2016), Midnight Shadow goes beyond two miles four and a half for the first time - some commentators felt Clyne and Wholestone took each other on a long way from home the last day allowing Midnight Shadow to pick up the pieces - while Paisley Park looked very impressive in the Long Walk.

On a strict interpretation of that Long Walk form, in receipt of six pounds West Approach is weighted to reverse placings with Paisley Park.

West Approach is the each-way selection (one fifth the odds four places with Ladbrokes).


Anonymous said...

I took a similar approach in using the Long Walk as a guide for this but, you may be pleased to hear, drawn a different conclusion as to where the value lay.

With only 8lb between the field on RP ratings it looks a competitive renewal and given the 6lb swing with Paisley Park [PP] and the current odds it is easy to see why you have opted for West Approach [WA] as your EW selection.

The horse I’ve taken from the Long Walk is The Mighty Don [TMD]. He also has a 6lb swing with PP so should hopefully get a bit closer to him today, but he does have 5 ½ lengths to find with WA.

My positives for TMD are the course [PP disappointed at the festival and WA has not won in 12 starts at the venue]. The ground, there are quite a few strips of ‘Good’ in the Turf Trax course map and I’m hoping the forecast rain stays away until as late as possible this P.M; TMD looks a better horse the better the ground, whereas the going in the Long Walk would have, IMO, suited PP and WA that bit better. Finally, as a 7yo, he still looks to have further improvement in him particularly at this trip.

TMD 33/1 [4 places 1/5 odds].

Good luck!


GeeDee said...

Agree with your points about the ground, TW. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

No match for the impressive winner but a grand effort by West Approach.


GeeDee said...

Lil Rockerfeller (20/1) and Sam Spinner (11/1) raced at the head of affairs for much of the three mile trip; the lead changed hands at various points but the pair were still in there with a shout approaching two out.

West Approach (20/1) raced in fifth / sixth position but pilot Tom Scudamore took much closer order from the second last and coming off the home bend claimed the running rail and pushed the selection into the lead.

He didn't stay there for very long though as Paisley Park (100/30f), who had looked in some trouble half a mile from home, made significant headway and with an impressive turn of foot took up the running before the last to win as he liked by twelve lengths; West Approach finished second with Black Op (11/2) third.

A word for the two leaders who went hard up front - Sam Spinner came home fourth and Lil Rockerfeller fifth.

Before this race Paisley Park was quoted a 12/1 chance for the Stayers' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March; this evening he is best-priced 7/2. William Hill offered a stand-out 6/1 about the winner straight after this race but now offer just 2/1.