galliardhomes.com Cleeve Hurdle
|Grade 2, Cheltenham 15:35
3m, Class 1
|Saturday 24th January 2015|
1 Saphir Du Rheu 3/1
2 Reve De Sivola 4/1
3 Un Temps Pour Tout 7/4F
6 ran Distances: nk, 2½l, 13l
TIME 6m 7.80s (slow by 26.80s)
Saphir Du Rheu gets the better of Reve De Sivola in a tight finish to the Cleeve Hurdle
Saphir Du Rheu evoked memories of the great Big Buck's with victory in the galliardhomes.com Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham.
Winner of this Grade Two in 2009 and 2012, Big Buck's, like Saphir Du Rheu, was owned by Andy Stewart and trained by Paul Nicholls, and the similarities do not end there, as Saphir Du Rheu was reverting to hurdles after he fell over fences - just as the great staying hurdler had done before he embarked upon a breathless winning run.
It was an inspired decision as the 3-1 chance, capably piloted by Sam Twiston-Davies, overpowered the brave Reve De Sivola by a neck in a pulsating finish.
Un Temps Pour Tout, the 7-4 favourite, was disappointing, while Cole Harden did himself no favours by continually jumping to his left.
Twiston-Davies said: "You can never discount a Paul Nicholls horse.
"If he runs in the World Hurdle, there will be a good reason why."
Nicholls said: "I think as he's got a bit older, he wants better ground so the spring ground should suit him.
"That will have done him the world of good as it's been a bit stop-start with him this season.
"I will talk to Andy (Stewart) but I think we will stay over hurdles with him this year now.
"It looks a very open World Hurdle this year and I will see what Andy wants to do and where he would like to go."
Paul Duffy, owner of Reve De Sivola, said: "He didn't miss a beat. That was the best he's ever jumped.
"We want soft ground but I suppose it's difficult not to come back for the World Hurdle.
"He's such an honest horse."
Galliardhomes.com Cleeve Hurdle
£60,000 added, 5yo plus, 3m, Class 1
|1st||Saphir Du Rheu (FR) 3/1||S Twiston-Davies
|P F Nicholls||6|
|2nd||nk||Reve de Sivola (FR) 4/1||D A Jacob
|3rd||2½||Un Temps Pour Tout (IRE) 7/4f||T Scudamore
|4th||13||Cole Harden (IRE) 9/2||G Sheehan
|5th||nk||The Druids Nephew (IRE) 12/1||B J Geraghty
|N P Mulholland||8|
|6th||35||Olofi (FR) 25/1||P J Brennan
|T R George||9|