The Cleeve Hurdle (Saturday 26 January) is one of the main trials for the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. It is a Grade 2 race run over 3 miles at Cheltenham during which runners have to jump 12 hurdles.
The race first took place in 1983, and it has been won by high-class staying hurdlers such as Lady Rebecca, Big Bucks, Inglis Drever, Tidal Bay, and Thistlecrack.
10-Year-Trends for Cleeve Hurdle 2019
- Winners have been aged either 6, 7, 8, 9, or 11
- Winners have been rated between 145 and 174
- Winners have carried between 11-0 and 11-8
- SP’s of the winners have ranged from 1/4 to 66/1
- Five of the last 10 favourites have won
Cheltenham Festival Horse Racing: The Main Contenders
This Emma Lavalle seven-year-old was a decent novice hurdler and he’s really come into his own this season. He’s won handicaps off top-weight at Aintree and Haydock before coming with a late thrust to win the Grade 1 JLT Hurdle at Ascot last time. The big worry is he performed poorly on his only previous start at Cheltenham, when unplaced in the 2018 Albert Bartlett Hurdle.
An experienced six-year-old who has spent most of his career running over two-miles, but he’s improved significantly in his last two runs over 2½ miles. He was very strong at the finish when beating course specialist Wholestone last time at Cheltenham and, if he stays three-miles, he has every chance.
Proved himself one of the better novice hurdlers of last season with a win in the Mersey Novices’ Hurdle at the Grand National Meeting, prior to which he had chased home an in-form Samcro at the Cheltenham Festival. However, he reverts to hurdles after not pleasing connections over fences, whilst he also hasn’t raced over as far as three-miles before.
Aux Ptit Soins
Former winner of the Coral Cup at the Cheltenham Festival and finished fifth in the 2016 Stayer’s Hurdle. Also ran well over course and distance last time to win a handicap off a mark of 141, and his new mark of 149 entitles him to go close here with just 11-0 on his back.
Eight-year-old that usually runs a solid race, especially here at Cheltenham where he has won four times and been placed five times from nine starts, including two wins over course and distance. His third in last year’s Stayers’ Hurdle demands respect and he looks a solid each-way proposition.
Cleeve Hurdle 2019: Summary for Saturday’s Cheltenham Festival
There are some interesting new recruits to the staying hurdle ranks this season. Paisley Park heads that list after his Grade 1 win last time, but he may not appreciate the undulations at Cheltenham. It’s also impossible to be certain that Black Op and Midnight Shadow will stay the distance, whilst Aux Ptit Soins has flopped at this level before. So, it may pay to back Wholestone each-way, as he’s won or been placed in all his starts at Cheltenham.
Tip: Wholestone (Each-Way)