Cleeve Hurdle Ante-Post Betting Preview

The G2 Cleeve Hurdle is among Saturday’s big races and 2 horses dominate our ante-post market…

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He cemented his reputation as one of the most important emerging hurdlers on the scene at the moment, by winning the G1 JLT Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot in December. The fall of Ballyoptic at the last obstacle in that race did slightly take the shine off that victory, although Harry Fry’s charge did seem to be traveling the better of the pair when Ballyoptic came to grief.


Nigel Twiston-Davies clearly has a big talent on his hands and the Old Vic gelding is already a G1 winner. He was a neck better than Bellshill in the Sefton Novices’ Hurdle and even though he began the new campaign by winning the G3 Silver Trophy Handicap Hurdle, connections might have hoped for better progress since then. He’s fallen in 2 of his last 3 starts and those failures sandwiched another loss to Unowhatimeanharry, in the G2 Long Distance Hurdle.

With Ballyoptic’s jumping now under scrutiny, this looks a race that will be of significant appeal to each-way backers. The likes of Un Temps Pour Tout, Ptit Zig, Cole Harden, Shantou Bob and even The Romford Pele are all in with a shout of at least placing – particularly if Ballyoptic doesn’t make it home. All are currently available at long odds.

Race History

Horses must be at least 5 years old to race in the Cleeve, a 3m contest that was first run in 1983. It took several years before it was given Listed classification and eyebrows were raised when G1 status was awarded in 1991. Sure enough, the race was downgraded to G2 in 2004. It’s still one of the most important trials for the World Hurdle, though.

Famous Horses That Have Won The Cleeve

Previous winners include Flakey Dove, Inglis Drever, Big Buck’s, Tidal Bay and the 2016 champion Thistlecrack.

This will be that last of 9 terrific races that will be broadcast live on Saturday’s edition of ITV Racing. The show is already very popular and looks a worthy successor to CH4 Racing, although let’s hope they start to have better luck with the weather!

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