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Cheltenham

  • 15:35 galliardhomes.com Cleeve Hurdle 3m

  • (Grade 2) £60,000 added 5yo+ 6 ran
  • Winner £34,170 2nd £12,822 3rd £6,420 4th £3,198
  • Going: Heavy, Soft in places
  • Surface: Turf
    Weighed In
  • Winning time: 6m 28.70s
  • Off time: 15:38:28

Full result

15:35 Cheltenham Result 25th January 2014
Pos Draw Dist Horse Weight Jockey Trainer Age SP
1st Knockara Beau (IRE) 11-0 Jan Faltejsek G A Charlton 11 66/1
Led, headed narrowly after 4th, lost place and behind 3 out, headway on inside next, challenged last, ridden and stayed on to lead narrowly final 50 yards, just held on opened 66/1 touched 100/1
2nd s.h At Fishers Cross (IRE) 11-4 A P McCoy Miss R Curtis 7 5/1
Held up in last pair, headway after 3 out, close up next, challenged on inside approaching last, soon ridden, stayed on and every chance towards finish, just held opened 7/1 touched 7/1 £3000-£500
3rd ¾ Big Buck's (FR) 11-8 S Twiston-Davies P F Nicholls 11 6/5f
Tracked leading pair, went 2nd 9th, soon challenged, led after 3 out, ridden and hard pressed last, kept on, headed final 50 yards, 3rd and held towards finish opened 11/10 touched 6/5 £2500-£2000 £1250-£1000 £1000-£800 £813-£650 £750-£600 £500-£400 £2200-£2000 £1100-£1000(x3) £440-£400 £1000-£1000 £300-£300(x2)
4th 7 Reve de Sivola (FR) 11-8 R Johnson Nick Williams 9 11/4
Held up in 4th, headway into 3rd 3 out, close up next, driven and effort approaching last, soon one pace, 4th and beaten flat opened 10/3 touched 7/2 £3500-£1000 £1400-£400
5th Quartz de Thaix (FR) 11-0 Aidan Coleman Miss V Williams 10 33/1
Tracked leader, led narrowly after 4th, driven and outpaced after 2 out, weakened before last opened 40/1 touched 40/1
6th 39 Boston Bob (IRE) 11-4 B J Geraghty W P Mullins 9 9/2
Held up in last pair, headway after 3 out, close up next, driven and one pace approaching last, weakened and eased soon after opened 4/1 touched 5/1

Betting breakdown

Tote Win: £57.40 Tote Place: £8.30,2.10
Straight Forecast: £344.14 Exacta: £311.20 Trifecta: £397.90 Swingers: 1&2:9.30 2&3:1.80 1&3:5.40

Jackpot: £28,895.72 carried forward to Leopardstown, 26th Jan
Placepot: £727.90, Pool: £261034.02, 261.77 winning tickets
Quadpot: £71.10, Pool: £16896.31, 175.73 winning tickets

Verdict

A difficult race to weigh up with the testing ground and a seemingly career best performance from KNOCKARA BEAU at the age of 11 following a wind-operation. George Charlton's star has shown some of his best form at this track and showed a tremendous desire to put his head in front having looked in trouble when losing his position but his starting price reflected his chances of beating a strong field. He could return to his favourite hunting ground at Kelso before coming back to Cheltenham for either the Gold Cup or the World Hurdle where he will be expected to struggle despite this performance. The race hinged on Big Buck's and whether he retained his ability following his enforced absence and the jury must still be out to some degree. Sam Twiston-Davies certainly didn't ride him with kid gloves or as if a lack of fitness would be an issue but the latter probably played a part in his defeat as it appeared as though he was going to win nicely two from home only to have no extra once challenged. His trainer expects him to improve from this race and prove better suited by better ground and he comes out as the best horse at the weights as he was conceding weight to the pair that finished in front of him and, all in all, this was an encouraging enough return without completely convincing but he remains the one to beat in the World Hurdle. This was a big step forwards from At Fishers Cross (first time cheekpieces) who has had countless problems in his first season in open company and he was returning after having treatment on his break during a short break. He jumped far better than has been the case in this campaign and was given a fine confidence boosting ride from Tony McCoy that should serve him in good stead between now and March where he will be a live contender assuming that he can build on this run and that his jumping holds up. Along with the defeat of Big Buck's, the performances of Reve De Sivola and Boston Bob were also very disappointing with both horses' profiles suggesting that they should have relished these conditions. Reve De Sivola didn't have as much use made of him as has sometimes been the case and perhaps that contributed to his performance while Boston Bob weakened very quickly from the last and may just have been found wanting in this company as, arguably, this was one of the toughest tasks that he has faced to date.