Thistle Should Crack Decent Cleeve Hurdle Field At Cheltenham

Saturday 30th January 2016, 3.35pm - Cleeve Hurdle

All eyes will fall on Cheltenham this Saturday as they host their always popular Trials Day card with the Cleeve Hurdle among the highlights of the fixture The Cleeve is one of the key trial races for the World Hurdle each season and that looks the case again this season with a very good cast list of seven runners engaged this season.

  • Big Buck's was the last horse to win the Cleeve Hurdle and the World Hurdle in the same season back in 2009
  • Paul Nicholls has trained the Cleeve Hurdle winner three times during his career (2015, 2012 + 2009)

Improved Thistlecrack The One To Beat

There is no doubt that staying hurdle star of the division so far this winter has been Thistlecrack and the Colin Tizzard trained horse is set to start a warm order for this one as a result. The 8-year-old really came to prominence last season when he won the Grade 1 Novice Hurdle at Aintree and he is yet to look back from there.

He ran Killultagh Vic very close at Punchestown which now looks top drawer form and he has won both the Long Distance and Long Walk Hurdles this season to mark himself as the clear jolly for the World Hurdle in March.

That form certainly makes him the one to beat and the most likely winner with the only negative surrounding him being his very poor run on the only time he has raced at Cheltenham in his career. That would be a slight worry but Thistlecrack is surely a different horse now and as such looks a worth favourite here at a price of 8/11 with Sky Bet.

Who Can Challenge The Favourite?

Punters wanting to oppose the jolly on Saturday don't have too many options but one who is interesting is the fascinating Camping Ground (5/2). The Robert Walford trained 6-year-old produced an electric display on New Year's Day when he crushed the field to win the Relkeel Hurdle in stunning fashion.

That performance was a sensational one and on the bare form, he is certainly one to consider but there are potential pitfalls for his backers. That win did come down at 2m4f and on near bottomless ground and he will need to produce the same sort of performance up in trip and on better ground if he is to mix it with Thistlecrack which is possible, but he will need more again.

Ptit Zig is a classy animal for Paul Nicholls and it will be interesting to see how he fares on his return to hurdles after an aborted chasing career. At his best, Ptit Zig is very good indeed and mustn't be ruled out but he has failed to complete his last two races over fences and might be best watched on this occasion at 5/1 with Sky Bet.com.

We should also mention Knockara Beau (33/1) who won this race two years ago which means we must not rule him out, although that was on much heavier ground and his recent form would suggest he might find a second Cleeve win a big ask this weekend.

Thistlecrack Should Be Too Good

Camping Ground could be the danger here but this is another big step up for him this weekend and given the way Thistlecrack has performed so far this season, it is hard to oppose him. Colin Tizzard has already had a great season with Cue Card and although he does need to perform at Cheltenham, we are backing the Dorset handler to pick up another big race win this weekend with Thistlecrack in the Cleeve.

Saturday 30th January - 3.35pm OddsWon/LostBet
Cleeve Hurdle    
Tips Thistlecrack to win    Best Bet @ 8 / 11  

Cleeve Hurdle Betting - Click To Bet

Posted: Friday, 29th January 2016

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