CeeBee previews the Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham's Showcase meeting on Friday & likes the Dan Skelton trained Savello.
I don’t usually get heavily involved in The Showcase meeting at Cheltenham, as I like to wait until we’ve seen a bit more early season form. However after flicking through today’s card one horse jumped off the page!
17.40 Cheltenham Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle 2miles
Savello is the pick. I was eager to back this fella in the County Hurdle last March, only for connections to have a shot at the Queen Mother Champion Chase with him. That says plenty about his ability - considering this is a class 3 handicap against 120-130 horses. A course winner in the Grand Annual 12 months earlier, off 147, it shows the iconic Cheltenham hill won’t cause him any trouble.
The two key elements today however are his new yard and his handicap mark. He’s now rated 139 over hurdles, some 15lbs below his current chase mark. Note it’s not an inflated chase mark for a horse in decline. He’s only 9 and won in both August and June this summer. I’ve no worries he’ll revert back to hurdles without any difficulty as he ran a great race over hurdles in the Boylesports back in January.
Savello was winning for Tony Martin and Gigginstown two months ago, but is now in the care of Dan Skelton. Dan has grown his string massively acquiring horses from Nicholls, Venetia, McCain and many others. So far it’s going very well. Both Closest Friend (Jenkins) and Open Hearted (Henderson) were 2nd and then 1st on their two starts since joining Skelton. Superb Story won on his first start since joining from Charlie Mann’s. Upepito (Venetia) 2nd on first start. Sir Mangan (McCain) 1st on first start. The yard’s last 5 runners have been either 1st or 2nd. Red hot.
Bridget Andrews is not a jockey I know a whole lot about, but with 6 wins to her name already this season I’m sure she’s more than capable in a conditionals' race.
Savello’s seven career wins have come between 16f and 18f on all sorts of ground but there’s nothing in his form to suggest today’s test will be anything but ideal. A stiff 2miles on decent ground against inferior opposition. He’s well handicapped, in good form and likely to be well prepared on his first outing for Skelton.
There’s so much to like about Savello I can’t pass him over at 9/2 despite traditionally not getting involved at this meeting.
2 points win Savello at 4/1 with Betfred, Paddy Power, Racebets and BetVictor