Grade Two Cleeve Hurdle Guide

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Cheltenham - January 30 2021
Cheltenham 15:35
1
Aidan Coleman

Paisley Park

J:
 
Aidan Coleman
T:
 
Emma Lavelle
Age: 9
Weight: 11-6
OR: 165
Days: 42

Paisley Park showed he is back to his best this season after a superb second behind the young pretender Thyme Hill in the Grade Two Long Distance Cup at Newbury on his seasonal debut and then backed that up by reversing the form in the Grade One Long Walk Hurdle.

The eight year old at the Cheltenham festival last season was looking to extend his unbeaten run to eight races and also land back to back renewals of the Stayers Hurdle having been the horse to beat in they Stayers' Hurdle division, but it was not to be for the fan favourite.

After the race it was found that the son of Oscar had come back with an irregular heartbeat that was certainly the cause of his underwhelming run in the Grade One he dominated last season.

Now, the Andrew Gemmell owned horse is said to be back to his best having been given the all clear from the vets and the frequent winner has been wearing a heart monitor in pieces of his work at home and the problem has not resurfaced.

Although the gelding was taking on much younger horses on his return in November and giving weight away he still ran to a high standard.

He cemented the idea that his run in the 2020 Stayers' Hurdle was a blip when coming from the clouds to land his second Grade One Long Walk Hurdle last time out, reversing the form with Thyme Hill in the final stages.

It was one of the races of the season so far and one of the performances of the term by Paisley Park and Lavelle has expressed how well he has come out of the event and is now ready for his third consecutive tilt at the Cleeve Hurdle.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
19/12/20ASC24.5Hy11-71
27/11/20NBY24Gd11-62
12/03/20CHL24Sft11-107
25/01/20CHL24Sft11-61
29/11/19NBY24GS11-61
Cheltenham - January 30 2021
Cheltenham 15:35
5
Gavin Sheehan

Itchy Feet

J:
 
Gavin Sheehan
T:
 
Olly Murphy
Age: 7
Weight: 11-0
OR: 155
Days: 42

Itchy Feet has been one of the yards best horses over the last few years having landed the yards first ever Grade One winner last term when taking the Scilly Isles Novices' Chase at Sandown.

As a hurdler, the six year old gave a career best performance at the 2019 Cheltenham festival when finishing third behind the Willie Mullins trained Klassical Dream and stablemate Thomas Darby.

He was stepped up to fences last term and made a superb start to life over the bigger obstacles when taking his two events including that black type event at Sandown.

He then headed into the Marsh Novices' Chase at this year's Cheltenham festival and although being one of the market leaders could only unseat Gavin Sheehan early on in the contest.

He made his debut this season in the Grade Two Old Roan Chase at Aintree last month and off the back of his decent third, went to Ascot next time out and was a fair second behind the progressive gelding Imperial Aura for Kim Bailey.

Last time out he went back to Ascot over the same course and distance and again had to settle for second in a Graduation Chase behind Dashel Drasher, who has since franked the form.

Although Itchy Feet has been featuring in the frame, he has not been performing to the standard over fences that Murphy would like.

His return to hurdles and step up to three miles could spark a revival, but he will have to give a career best to challenge Paisley Park.

Cheltenham - January 30 2021
Cheltenham 15:35
2
Fergus Gillard

Main Fact

J:
 
Fergus Gillard
T:
 
David Pipe
Age: 8
Weight: 11-4
OR: 154
Days: 42

The David Pipe trained Main Fact has been a superstar yardstick and landing nine consecutive wins for his trainer, just falling short of the magic 10 in a row last time out.

The training performance from the Pipe team has been tremendous with the seven year old, staying on from a horrible position to land the Grade Three Stayers' Handicap Hurdle last time out.

The gelding had been running on both the flat and over hurdles and having up 15lb for this run, many thought that it would be impossible for him to win on his latest start.

However, with the heavy ground coming it saw off the challenge of some of the more prominent runners in the market and left Main Fact to power up the straight to victory.

This saw him land nine straight races in a row having been superb on both the flat and over hurdles this term, but when stepped up to Grade One company last time out was blown out of the water.

He will need to be better than his below par run in the Long Walk Hurdle in December and although him handling heavy ground, does not look likely to reverse the form with Paisley Park.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
20/02/21HAY24.5Sft11-64
19/12/20ASC24.5Hy11-77
21/11/20HAY24.5Sft10-111
04/11/20NOT16Sft9-41
27/10/20CAT16Hy9-121
Cheltenham - January 30 2021
Cheltenham 15:35
6
Richard Johnson

Unowhatimeanharry

J:
 
Richard Johnson
T:
 
Harry Fry
Age: 13
Weight: 11-0
OR: 151
Days: 50

The veteran Unowhatimeanharry goes for Harry Fry and although throwing out some nice performances of late, looks past his best and vulnerable in this event.

The 13 year old has been a superb hurdler during his career landing Grade Ones such as the Champion Stayers Hurdle at the Punchestown festival, Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot and also the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham festival.

However, the gelding is coming towards the end of his career and does not seem to have the spark of old, even though landing a Pertemps qualifier on seasonal debut at Aintree in November.

He raced at Cheltenham last time out in a handicap over three miles and finished a tame 10th of 12 runners and is opposable on that form.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
11/12/20CHL24Sft11-50
07/11/20AIN24.5GS11-51
12/03/20CHL24Sft11-100
15/02/20HAY24.5Hy11-125
28/12/19LEO24Sft11-102
Cheltenham - January 30 2021
Cheltenham 15:35
3
Tom Scudamore

Ramses De Teillee

J:
 
Tom Scudamore
T:
 
David Pipe
Age: 9
Weight: 11-3
OR: 149
Days: 21

The gelding has been a superb yardstick for the Pipe yard, running over both hurdles and fences frequently, with his last two runs coming over the biggest obstacles.

The grey truly showed how smart he can be two starts ago when beating rival in this race Yala Enki over 3m3f at Cheltenham in a Grade Three Handicap Chase.

Set to run another big race, the gelding fell short at Aintree in the Becher Chase never getting into a jumping rhythm and finishing a weak seventh.

The gelding seemed to be staying down the staying route and went into the Welsh Grand National last time out and once again ran below par to finish a lesser 12th.

Pipe is trying to rejuvenate his season by sending him back over hurdles having been smart last term, but being put into this event could leave him outclassed once more.

Cheltenham - January 30 2021
Cheltenham 15:35
4
James Bowen

Decor Irlandais

J:
 
James Bowen
T:
 
Noel C Kelly
Age: 8
Weight: 11-0
OR: 149
Days: 161

The final runner in the Cleeve Hurdle on Saturday is the Noel Kelly trained Decor Irlandais who looks to have it all to do on past performances, and it looks a strange move being entered into this Grade Two event

Some of his best form came at Warwick last season when second in a weak renewal of the Grade Two Ballymore Leamington Novices' Hurdle over 2m5f.

This season he has beens seen twice, finishing fourth at Galway in a handicap hurdle at the festival and then last time out at Killarney in August when winning a handicap hurdle.

Might just need the run after his break and is a big price for a reason.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
21/02/21NAV21Hy11-55
22/08/20KLN23Y11-51
31/07/20GAL16.5Sft11-54
11/03/20CHL21Sft11-79
11/01/20WAR21Sft11-02
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