Eye Catchers #5: 12/11/2013

Melodic Rendezvous caught the eye...

Melodic Rendezvous caught the eye…

Eye Catchers, by Andrew Watson

Week Commencing 4th November 2013

Good to be back after a week’s break in the sun, and I am really looking forward to the jump season now it is getting down to business.  It is the Paddy Power meeting at Cheltenham at the end of this week, which will definitely supply us with some top class racing and hopefully provide us with some Festival pointers.

We only have a couple of Eyecatchers this week, but both were impressive winners and are likely to run up a sequence from here… both should be followed until beaten.

Saturday 9th November – 12.30 Kelso

The Last Samurai – 1st

For his first run over hurdles, this was an extremely promising performance and one he looks easily capable of improving on. He was extremely novice over the first 3 hurdles and showed his greeness by looking all around him during the early part of the race. He definitely started to get the hang of things on the second circuit where his jumping improved and he started to travel strongly for Jason Maguire.  He looked to have the race in the bag from at least half a mile out and he was 6 lengths in front as they crossed the line. The front 3 were no less than 27 lengths clear of the 4th, and although he was getting weight from both of them they were both won last time out over hurdles so had the edge on experience.

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Strangely enough Maguire looked to underpin this experience by giving him six good whacks although he seemed to be holding his rivals comfortably up the run in!

Races over this extended trip for Northern novices are not always the most keenly contested, and Last Samuri looks like the type to run up a sequence in Class 3 and 4 events.  He has an economical way of racing which means that he is able to conserve energy then find a turn of foot at the business end of the race. It will be interesting to see where Donald McCain sends him next.

Saturday 9th November – 14.05 Wincanton (Class 1) (4yo+) 2m Good to Soft

Melodic Rendezvous – 1st

I decided not to put out a selection in this race to Cleeve members as I could not decide decisively between Melodic Rendezvous and Far West, but If I had known Melodic Rendezvous would go off at 9/2 I would have him a selection as he was more like a 5/2 shot on my ratings.

Melodic Rendezvous was very well fancied for last year’s Supreme Novices at Cheltenham until he was a late withdrawal, and who knows if he had run and taken the race he would be right to the fore of the Champion Hurdle betting and this would have come as no surprise to anyone. Jeremy Scott his trainer said he was no more than 70% ready for this, whilst Paul Nicholls admitted after the race that Far West was pretty straight for this and the heavy market support seemed to underline this.

This was a decent field and there was real strength in depth, not only was Far West last year’s Triumph Hurdle runner up behind Our Conor, but Cotton Mill was second behind My Tent oo Yours in last season’s Betfred Hurdle, Ahknowyourself had romped home in his previous race by 14 lengths and 5th placed Karinga Dance was on a five timer. So to give them all weight and win pretty comfortably is the mark of a class performer. After this he was cut to 16/1 for the Champion Hurdle, and as his trainer and jockey insist he will act well on decent ground (he had previously been thought of as something of a soft ground specialist), you couldn’t really put a line through his chances with any confidence until we see what he does in his next couple of races.

Well that’s it for now and I will be back next week, I expect with have a few more eyecatchers from Cheltenham’s Paddy Power meeting next weekend.

Have a great week.


Cleeve Racing is an established racing advisory service run by professional bettor, Andrew Watson. Cleeve is consistently top of the Racing-Index tipster proofing charts, and always seeks value at ‘working man’s prices’. Find out more about Andrew and Cleeve Racing here.

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