Grade Two Cleeve Hurdle Guide 2022

Harry Haskell | @HarryHaskell4

Cheltenham - January 29 2022
Cheltenham 15:05
Jonjo O'Neill Jr


J: Jonjo O'Neill Jr
T: Nicky Henderson
Age: 10
Weight: 11-6
OR: 163
Days: 42

This horse is undoubtedly blessed with huge ability, as he's shown frequently in the past. Perhaps you'd like to have seen him really scale the heights we all thought he would as a chaser.

That said - he is a dual graded winner over fences, including a Grade one at the Cheltenham Festival - who could forget that?! 

He has had his issues in the past, and I just didn't think he was a complete natural over fences. Nicky Henderson and the team have reverted back to hurdles, and in doing so - I think Champ is somewhere near back to his brilliant best. 

He took the Grade 1 Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot on his last start, where - in all fairness - you could have expected him to need the run.

However he won by just under 2 lengths, after travelling beautifully throughout - maybe a shade keen in the run - but like I said you can forgive him that.

If he can settle better and travel as well as he did last time, I can see him taking this comfortably, for Jonjo O'Neill Jr - who keeps the ride. 

With a run under his belt, he can enhance his Stayers Hurdle claims here, he's currently best price at around 11-4.

Quite clearly the one to beat. 

Cheltenham - January 29 2022
Cheltenham 15:05
Aidan Coleman

Paisley Park

J: Aidan Coleman
T: Emma Lavelle
Age: 10
Weight: 11-6
OR: 158
Days: 42

A loveable 10yo gelding by Oscar, he's captured the public's imagination throughout the course of his career. His admirers have become accustomed to his relentless finishing kick over the years.

Paisley Park has ran three times this season, finishing 3rd on each outing, latterly behind Champ in the Long Walk Hurdle. He seems to retain his ability, but there is the sense that he could be on the downgrade.

Interestingly, he has been ridden handy so far this season, and in fact, led on his second start. He is usually ridden chilly at the back of the pack and looks to pick up the pieces late on.

The engine just seems to be stuttering on the evidence we have, from his three starts this year. If he can get back to his best, he'd have a right chance in this - however I just think he's vulnerable to a horse like Champ at this stage in his career.

Should be there or thereabouts in the finish, but might struggle to get his head in front.

Cheltenham - January 29 2022
Cheltenham 15:05
Adam Wedge

Lisnagar Oscar

J: Adam Wedge
T: Rebecca Curtis
Age: 9
Weight: 11-0
OR: 147
Days: 42

Lisnagar Oscar has ran three times this season and has yet to hit the frame, he was also pulled up last time out. He does have a tendency to not give his hurdles enough respect and therefore is prone to a mistake or two.

On his day, however, he is a high class horse as he showed when winning the Stayers Hurlde at Cheltenham. 

You can't help but think the ground might be more of a hinderance than a help here, as he ideally likes a softer surface. He does have a lot to find on the ratings and doesn't seem to have shown much so far this season, so I'm not sure he'll be entirely fancied for this.

Hard to recommended on form, but a high class performer on his day.  

Cheltenham - January 29 2022
Cheltenham 15:05
Harry Cobden


J: Harry Cobden
T: Paul Nicholls
Age: 8
Weight: 11-6
OR: 153
Days: 28

McFabulous is the youngest in this field, so in theory could still be improving. He was a fine second to Mares Hurdle hope Stormy Ireland at Cheltenham last time out, over 2m4f.

He was outpaced throughout but plugged on well up the hill but was ultimately always held by the mare. 

He does have an official rating of 153 which is 10lb below that of Champ's. He could find the necessary improvement to serve it up to this field though.

I don't think he is a true stayer - he's certainly not confirmed he stays 3m anyway. He has ran once over this trip and took it up 2 out, but was outstayed on the day by Thyme Hill and Paisley Park, finishing a distant third.

He should enjoy the ground and he proved he can run well at the track on the evidence of his last start.

Has a squeak on form but stamina to prove.

Cheltenham - January 29 2022
Cheltenham 15:05
Paddy Brennan

Dandy Mag

J: Paddy Brennan
T: Fergal O'Brien
Age: 9
Weight: 11-0
OR: 143
Days: 34

A Fergal O'Brien trained gelding by Special Kaldoun, he is without a win since December of 2020. 

His form since his last win has been uninspiring, having been out the places on every occasion. He has an official rating of 143 which makes him the lowest rated horse in the field. 

He is in fact a half brother to Grade one winning hurdler, Vroum Vroum Mag and has been a good servant to his connections over the years, they will have had a lot of fun out of him. 

However, he's faced with a mighty task here/ Although the O'Brien team are in good form, I don't believe there's a chance of him hitting the frame.

Impossible to recommend on ratings.