Cleeve Hurdle Betting Tips

The Cleeve Hurdle betting tips given by Bettng.org say Black Op is worth a bet to land the spoils in the Grade 2 contest over 3m at Cheltenham on Festival Trials Day. Midnight Shadow is progressing at a rate of knots, so is feared most in a competitive renewal on Saturday, 26 January. Sam Spinner, meanwhile, is the top rated in the line-up and therefore looks each-way value if bouncing back to his best. Our detailed Cleeve Hurdle betting tips preview below has more details on these horses’ chances.

Unibet logo
Odds
4/1
Selection
Black Op
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Betvictor logo
Odds
4/1
Danger
Midnight Shadow
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William Hill logo
Odds
12/1
E/W
Sam Spinner
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Black Op the Cleeve Hurdle bet

In a competitive renewal of the Grade 2 Cleeve Hurdle over 3m at Cheltenham on Saturday (15:35), Black Op looks worth a bet to get back to winnings ways now switched back to the smaller obstacles. This Tom George trained eight-year-old hasn’t lived up to expectations in two starts this season over fences, but has some top class hurdling form to his name.

After finishing a fine three-quarters of a length second to Santini in the Classic Novices’ Hurdle on this card 12 months ago, the son of Sandmason ran a stormer in the Grade 1 Ballymore itself here over 2m 5f at the Cheltenham Festival when a a 2 3/4 lengths second of 14 to Samcro.

Black Op rallied between the last two flights on the latter after getting outpaced turning for home, and stuck to the task really well having clouting the last. But for some sloppy jumping he would arguably have finished much closer, but the pair pulled five lengths clear of the third home, so the form has a rock solid look.

Grade 1 winner as a novice

The strapping gelding went on to rounded off the campaign with a taking display when landing a Grade 1 over 2m 4f at the Aintree Grand National meeting. Black Op once again took liberties at a few of the obstacles – including the last – but showed tremendous battling qualities to rally on the run-in and beat Lostintranslation by three-quarters of a length.

That victory marked him out as a possible Stayers’ Hurdle contender and that race now looks to be back on the agenda, as Black Op has shown himself clearly not to be a chaser at this stage of his career. He is currently a top-price 12/1 for it and victory in this would see those odds shorten dramatically.

Whilst his jumping is still a slight a concern, Black Op undoubtedly has a huge engine and the potential to win Grade 1 contests like the Stayers. The step up to 3m also promises to suit this resolute galloper and his proven course form is another plus.

So, with his handler among the winners of late and underfoot conditions in his favour, Black Op looks to have lots going for him. He thus had to be the main selection in our 2019 Cleeve Hurdle betting tips on Festival Trials Day.

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Progressive Midnight Shadow feared most

In a race where a case can be made for most of the 12 runners, the thriving Midnight Shadow rates our main danger. This Sue Smith trained six-year-old has taken his form to a new level this season and comes into the race on the back of two taking successes.

After only having to be driven out to beat Ch-tibello by half-a-length im a competitive 11-runner handicap at Aintree, he produced a career-best performance at this venue earlier in the month when landing the Grade 2 Relkeel Hurdle over 2m 4f in taking fashion.

Relkeel result hints at more to come up in trip

Midnight Shadow was held-up in the early stages and, after being switched right rounding the home bend, made rapid headway to lead at the last. Despite edging left, he then gamely responded to Danny Cook’s urgings to assert close home and beat Wholestone by 2 1/4 lengths.

He has nothing to fear from the re-opposing runner-up, whom he now meets on exactly the same terms, and there was simply nothing not to like about the way in which he got the job done. This is a far deeper race for the grade, but Midnight Shadow is clearly going the right way and appeals as the type that should have plenty more to offer.

Off a mark of 158, he is also the second highest rated in the line-up and the step up to 3m for the first time also promises to suit. A bold bid to land the hat-trick looks assured, so Midnight Shadow is therefore feared most and taken to give Black Op most to think about.

Top rated Sam Spinner the each-way option

Sam Spinner has failed to complete in two starts this season, but is the top rated in the race, so is another with claims if bouncing back to his best. Trained in the north by Jedd O’Keeffe, this seven-year-old has won five of his 11 starts over the obstacles including a Grade 1 victory to his name.

That came in the 2017 running of the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot over the 3m trip of this where he made all and stayed on gamely to beat L’ami Serge by 2 3/4 lengths. Sam Spinner was sent off the 9/4 favourite for the Stayers’ Hurdle at last year’s Cheltenham Festival here on the back of that and, although far from disgraced in finishing a 6 1/4 lengths fifth of 15 to Penhill, was arguably not seen to best effect as he was not ridden as forceeably as usual.

Needs to bounce back

Sam Spinner again failed to justify favoritism when weakening late on to finish a 15-length third of 10 to Identity Thief in a Grade 1 at Aintree’s Grand National meeting, but looked a tired horse and way below his best. In the circumstances it was not too bad an effort, as it may have been a case of the race coming too quickly after the Stayers.

The fact that he has unseated his rider in both starts this season has to be a concern, but O’Keefe reports him to be in tip top shape and ready for this. So, given that his rating of 162 puts him 4lb and upwards clear of his rivals, Sam Spinner can’t be ruled out if putting in a clear round.

He is a class act at his best and a tough nut to pass when on song. That’s why, at the odds on offer, he features as the each-way punt in our 2019 Cleeve Hurdle betting tips.

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