Wetherby Cleeve Hurdle Guide

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Wetherby - February 06 2021
Wetherby 14:30
1
Fergus Gillard

Main Fact

J:
 
Fergus Gillard
T:
 
David Pipe
Age: 8
Weight: 11-4
OR: 154
Days: 49

David Pipe’s prolific 8 year old took his sequence to nine straight wins in November with a taking win in the Grade 3 handicap hurdle at Haydock.

Mixing it between flat and jumps he had been hoovering up victories, showing his fantastic attitude and staying abilities.

It was well worth trying him in Grade 1 company in the Long Walk at Ascot but unfortunately he found himself out of his depth for the first time in 10 runs and finished 7th of eight and 53 lengths behind Paisley Park.

Dropping to Grade 2 company will definitely suit and the rescheduling of this race has meant the likes of Paisley Park are no longer running.

With the field being slightly depleted it’s an easier looking contest. Main Fact handles heavy ground and clearly has a massive engine.

It’s still of concern how far he was beaten in the long walk at Ascot and is probably best watched to see if he can hold his own out of handicap company.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
20/02/21HAY24.5Sft11-64
19/12/20ASC24.5Hy11-77
21/11/20HAY24.5Sft10-111
04/11/20NOT16Sft9-41
27/10/20CAT16Hy9-121
Wetherby - February 06 2021
Wetherby 14:30
2
James Bowen

On The Blind Side

J:
 
James Bowen
T:
 
Nicky Henderson
Age: 9
Weight: 11-4
OR: 153
Days: 21

Nicky Henderson’s nine year old currently heads the market. The Seven Barrows inmate has mixed it over hurdles and fences but is certainly at his best over the smaller obstacles.

He hasn’t finished outside the top 2 this season, winning a listed handicap, coming second in a Grade 2 and winning a competitive Class 2 conditions race.

Three miles has slowly become his trip this season and he was very gritty to hold off the late challenge of Lil Rockerfeller when last seen at Market Rasen.

He has become a thorough stayer and this moving to a flatter course should suit him.

He’s been wildly consistent all season and deserves to get his head in front in a big contest like this. He sets the standard in this depleted field.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
16/01/21MAR23Hy11-41
09/01/21KEM21Sft11-42
11/12/20CHL24Sft11-112
14/11/20CHL24Sft11-61
21/02/20NCS16.5Sl11-41
Wetherby - February 06 2021
Wetherby 14:30
3
David Noonan

Ramses De Teillee

J:
 
David Noonan
T:
 
David Pipe
Age: 9
Weight: 11-3
OR: 149
Days: 28

Another runner for David Pipe, Ramses De Teillee is an out and out stayer.

Second in a Welsh national the striking grey made a return to timber last season for a novice hurdle campaign and was thoroughly effective over the smaller obstacles.

Picking up two Grade 2 contests on his way to the Albert Bartlett it would appear that a tough season showed as he finished a detached 13th at Cheltenham.

A couple of recent handicap chase starts have yielded very little success with him being beaten out of sight.

A return to the hurdles could just reignite him and he’ll have no problems slogging through the mud.

He hasn’t got the most attractive of profiles as a hurdler but it’s well worth him taking his chance in open company over hurdles for the first time in this country.

The long term goal of the Grand National looks unlikely from how badly he ran in the Becher but he could well hold place claims in this attritional test over timber.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
09/01/21CHP30.5Sft11-60
05/12/20AIN26Sft11-67
15/11/20CHL27.5Sft11-51
17/10/20AUT25.5Hy10-105
13/03/20CHL24Sft11-50
Wetherby - February 06 2021
Wetherby 14:30
4
Paddy Brennan

Ask Dillon

J:
 
Paddy Brennan
T:
 
Fergal O'Brien
Age: 8
Weight: 11-0
OR: 146
Days: 28

Representing Ravenswell Farm and Fergal O’Brien, Ask Dillon started the season over fences but fell on debut and was immediately returned to hurdles.

He’s since been mixing it in staying handicap hurdles and has run very creditably without winning.

The eight year old hasn’t won a race since his last start as a novice and finished last campaign when a big priced runner in the Stayer’s Hurdle at the festival, only to be beaten 36 lengths into 10th.

He seemingly lacks the class to be involved in a Grade 2 contest and might just struggle to be truly effective out of handicap company.

He does handle heavy ground but others have stronger claims than him.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
14/02/21EXE23Hy10-64
09/01/21CHP23.5Sft11-52
13/12/20CRL25Sft11-122
21/11/20HAY24.5Sft10-94
23/10/20CHL24.5Gd11-0F
Wetherby - February 06 2021
Wetherby 14:30
5
Tom Bellamy

Ballyoptic

J:
 
Tom Bellamy
T:
 
Nigel Twiston-Davies
Age: 11
Weight: 11-0
OR: 158
Days: 21

Nigel Twiston-Davies gelding is normally seen over the larger obstacles but reverts to hurdles here for the first time since October 2017.

The 11 year old’s had a poor campaign so far, pulling up in the Charlie Hall, coming 10th in the Ladbroke Trophy and coming 6th at Warwick last time out.

He is however very at home around Wetherby and boasts a record of 2 wins from 4 runs. Both times he’s completed a race around this course he’s won.

Rated 158, he certainly has the class for Grade 2 events but might just find the lack of obstacles to jump not to his liking.

Likely that this is to try and reignite his interest for racing again before going for a more suitable target over fences.

Best avoided as he’s not won a race over hurdles since October 2016.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
16/01/21WAR29.5Sft11-76
28/11/20NBY26Gd11-90
31/10/20WET24Sft11-6P
15/02/20ASC24Sft11-101
07/12/19AIN26Sft11-120
Wetherby - February 06 2021
Wetherby 14:30
6
Adam Wedge

Decor Irlandais

J:
 
Adam Wedge
T:
 
Noel C Kelly
Age: 8
Weight: 11-0
OR: 149
Days: 168

A challenger from the other side of the Irish Sea for Noel Kelly, Decor Irlandais hasn’t been seen since the summer but signed off his last run with a good win over three miles.

As a novice hurdler he posted some great efforts to easily fend off Mercian Prince at Catterick before a very impressive second in the Leamington Novices’ Hurdle to Mossy Fen.

A poor run in the Ballymore found him out for a bit of tactical speed and true Grade 1 quality but it was good to see him return to a racecourse with a win over three miles in Ireland in August.

He’s certainly been crying out for this kind of testing trip and travels very powerfully in his races, he lacks that sudden change of gear so an attritional three miles will probably be his ideal.

If he’s fully fit he’s certainly in with a shout to be in the frame, he’s lightly raced under rules and likely to be still improving.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
21/02/21NAV21Hy11-55
22/08/20KLN23Y11-51
31/07/20GAL16.5Sft11-54
11/03/20CHL21Sft11-79
11/01/20WAR21Sft11-02
Wetherby - February 06 2021
Wetherby 14:30
7
Jonjo O'Neill Jr

Itchy Feet

J:
 
Jonjo O'Neill Jr
T:
 
Olly Murphy
Age: 7
Weight: 11-0
OR: 155
Days: 49

Olly Murphy’s Itchy Feet is another runner normally seen running over fences and the trainer is likely using this as pipe opener going into the Spring festivals.

Last season’s Scilly Isles winner has struggled to get his head in front this season and has finished third, second and second so far.

He’s been keeping on well in his races and hinting that his future could lie over further, the first attempt at three miles today is going to be a good test to see if this is the kind of trip that he needs.

He was fairly consistent as a novice hurdler, coming second in the Tolworth, third in the Supreme and fourth in the Top Novices’.

A Grade 1 winner over fences, he’s clearly highly talented and might just need this experimentation with distance to see what’s best for him.

A highly classy horse, he did burst a blood vessel when last seen at Ascot. If he’s over that issue and takes to this new trip well he could be great value at around 4/1.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
20/02/21HAY24.5Sft11-25
19/12/20ASC21Hy11-72
21/11/20ASC21Sft11-42
25/10/20AIN20Sft11-93
12/03/20CHL20Sft11-4UR
Wetherby - February 06 2021
Wetherby 14:30
8
Sam Twiston-Davies

Lake View Lad

J:
 
Sam Twiston-Davies
T:
 
N W Alexander
Age: 11
Weight: 11-0
OR: 152
Days: 63

As seems to be the theme with this race, another chaser looks to be lining up over hurdles here.

Lake View Lad was a surprise winner of the Many Clouds Chase back in early December as he held off Santini and Native River in what became virtually a flat race.

The 11 year old has an undeniably big engine and actually ran quite creditably over hurdles in January last year over an inadequate trip.

He hasn’t won over hurdles since April 2016 in his novice campaign but will likely enjoy the stiff stamina test that the conditions will provide.

Not without hope but might find himself susceptible to those who are more naturally gifted over hurdles.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
06/02/21SAN24Hy11-65
05/12/20AIN25Sft11-01
27/01/20KEL21Sft11-123
26/12/19WET24Sft11-123
30/11/19NCS23.5Hy11-125
Wetherby - February 06 2021
Wetherby 14:30
9
A P Heskin

Portrush Ted

J:
 
A P Heskin
T:
 
Warren Greatrex
Age: 9
Weight: 11-0
OR: 144
Days: 49

A frustrating one to follow for Warren Greatrex and the McNeill family.

A handy winner of a novice hurdle in August 2018, he then wasn’t seen until January 2020 where he won a handicap off top weight.

Things looked to be clicking into place and he looked to be going very well in a three mile handicap hurdle at Haydock before coming down at the last.

He was put away for the season and reappeared with another win in December last year off top weight in handicap. The form being franked since by second Storm Arising beating Ask Dillon.

Connections tried their hand in the Long Walk at Ascot but he was well found out at the top table and pulled up after quickly backing out of contention.

If he’s on song he could well fair a lot better in this race that seems to lack real three mile hurdling quality.

The form of his victories has worked out well, he’s a thorough stayer that handles heavy ground well.

If the run at Ascot hasn’t taken too much out of him 20/1 is a big each way price for a horse who’s still very lightly raced under rules.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
19/12/20ASC24.5Hy11-7P
04/12/20SAN23.5Hy11-121
15/02/20HAY24.5Hy10-11F
02/01/20AYR21.5Sft11-121
01/08/18PER24Gd10-121
Wetherby - February 06 2021
Wetherby 14:30
10
Tom O'Brien

Third Wind

J:
 
Tom O'Brien
T:
 
Hughie Morrison
Age: 7
Weight: 11-0
OR: 146
Days: 49

Hughie Morrison’s seven year old is another one of this field moving from handicaps to conditions company.

Second to Main Fact in the stayers’ handicap at Haydock. He too then was tested in the Long Walk at Ascot and wasn’t entirely disgraced to finish fifth of eight and 14 lengths behind Paisley Park.

Fourth in last year’s Pertemps final, Third Wind is clearly a classy operator. He’s been holding his own in high class handicaps and is well worth his place in this event.

He did flirt with a career with chasing but after one start found the idea scrapped and was moved straight back to timber.

His 5th in the Long Walk stands up well as he only began to weaken late on and the four that finished ahead of him don’t take their chances here.

The gelding is a strong stayer and with the quality of this Grade 2 being muddling, could well be in with a chance of hitting the frame.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
20/02/21HAY24.5Sft11-21
19/12/20ASC24.5Hy11-75
21/11/20HAY24.5Sft10-122
05/11/20NBY24Gd11-125
12/03/20CHL24Sft11-14
Wetherby - February 06 2021
Wetherby 14:30
11
Sean Quinlan

West Approach

J:
 
Sean Quinlan
T:
 
Colin Tizzard
Age: 11
Weight: 11-0
OR: 147
Days: 57

The half brother to Thistlecrack is quirky to say the least. His last run over hurdles came in last year’s Stayers’ Hurdle where he pulled up before the last.

In this race’s usual home of Cheltenham West Approach has contested it twice finishing third and second.

He’s only won over hurdles once and despite often threatening to be a good horse, he truly lacks the consistency to have any confidence in him.

His form this season has been his typical up and down campaign with a second on seasonal debut to Frodon, followed by a fourth and a non completion.

It’s his first spin over timber this season and he’s another who’s likely using this race to liven him up ready for the Spring.
Untrustworthy, quirky and unpredictable.

Not one to be getting too involved with.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
24/02/21DON24GS11-124
11/12/20CHL26Sft11-0P
15/11/20CHL27.5Sft11-44
24/10/20CHL25Gd10-92
12/03/20CHL24Sft11-10P
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