Haze Could Leave Them In A Daze At Cheltenham

The less said about my last selection the better. Phil Kirby’s charge ran an absolute stinker, and it was really tough going at Hexham. The writing was on the wall a long way from home, and Cleve Cottage went out like a light once the leaders turned the screw. It was a poor effort, and he was pulled up before the 3rd last. Tipping up horses at big prices isn’t always easy, and that is why I always advise to keep your stakes at a sensible level.

Phil Dando is a tricky customer.

On Friday I fancy a couple at silly odds at Cheltenham, and I can’t believe that Driftwood Haze has been chalked up at 28/1 for the 2.40, a class 2 24f handicap hurdle. Philip Dando’s 8yo gelding took a while to get off the mark under rules, but he managed to win two handicap hurdles at Ffos Las last season. The first came off a mark of just 109 last March (22f gd/sft) in a class 4 handicap and he hacked up by 12L from Bishop Wulstan.

He again obliged returned to Ffos Las (22f sft) when upped to class 3 company after a poor effort at Newton Abbott. That win came by a length from Suit Yourself, and he was likely over the top by the time of his last run of the season at Ludlow when he was 5th, beaten 12L off 132. He was dropped 3lb for that run, and he was put away for his summer break.

He made his seasonal reappearance back in the familiar surroundings of Ffos Las (24f gd) last month, and he ran a huge race behind the progressive Tobefair, beaten just 3L (2.5L behind Herbert Park). He is 3lb better off with that rival today, yet he is over three times his price. He just got tired in the last 100yds in that race and, with another run behind him at Ffos Las when 3rd to Sirop De Menthe (24f soft), he is likely to be at peak fitness tomorrow. I think there could be more to come from him back on good ground at this trip and, at odds of 28/1, he looks well worthy of a small each way bet.

I also think Floresco could be worth a small interest in the next race, a 2m class 3 handicap hurdle. Regular readers of the blog will be familiar with his trainer Richard Woollacott, and he has done us plenty of favours in the past. This 6yo son of Santiago is still relatively lightly raced over timber, and from 10 starts he has won twice and been placed on a further 4 occasions.

It was hard not to be taken by the manner of his win at Newton Abbott (18f gd) back in May off a mark of 123, and he did his best to throw that race away with a couple of sketchy jumps at the business end. However, he won with a fair bit of authority, and he gave the impression there was more to come.

He can be forgiven his seasonal comeback effort at Kempton over 21f as that trip was never going to suit. That run will have blown away the cobwebs, and he should be a lot fitter for tomorrow’s contest. He has been dropped a pound to a mark of 130, and Conor O Farrell keeps the ride. The drop back in trip should suit, the ground is ideal and his trainer will be eager to break his Cheltenham hoodoo. I think he looks overpriced, also at 28/1, and he is well worth a small interest at those sort of odds. A little each way double on my two selections might be worth chancing too.

STEVOS’ SELECTIONS: 2.40 CHEL: DRIFTWOOD HAZE EW 28/1  
                                              3.15 FLORESCO E/W 28/1

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