Forming a major part of the highly valued Trials Day at Cheltenham is the 39-year-old Cotswold Chase. It’s a race that often includes Cheltenham Gold Cup hopefuls as well as Grand National winners in the form of Neptune Collonges and Many Clouds in recent years.
The first running of this race was in 1980 and it is one of the last big 3 mile chases before the March Festival.
Next Race: Saturday, 30th January 2021
The next race is scheduled to run on 30th January 2021. The race info, trends and tips shown below will be updated for the next renewal once the final declarations have been made.
Last Run: 25th January 2020
- Winner: Santini
- SP: 13/8
- Trainer: Nicky Henderson
- Jockey: Nico de Boinville
3m1½f is the trip for this Grade 2 Chase contest for the stayers which offers a total of £100,000 in guaranteed prize money. The ground at the track is currently described as soft, and with little rain forecast isn’t expected to deteriorate.
|Going||Distance||Grade||Prize Money||Runners||EW Terms|
|Soft||3m1½f||Grade 1||£150,000||5 Runners||1/4 1-2|
Cotswold Chase Betting Tips
Note: The following tips are from 2020. Tips for the next renewal will be added once the final declarations have been made.
Paul Nicholls is way out in front in the trainer table for this race, with five wins in total. Likely much to the relief of his fellow handlers, Nicholls doesn’t hold an entry this year, as his staying chase aces are aimed elsewhere. Of the trainers who are represented in 2020, Nicky Henderson (Santini), Nigel Twiston-Davies (Bristol De Mai) and Colin Tizzard (Slate House) each have a previous win to their name.
This has been a dire race for favourite backers of late, with not a single market leader coming home in front in the past 10 years. Not that we have had too many outright shocks, with 2010 champ Taranis the only winner to have returned a double figure SP.
SANTINI – 7/4
Nicky Henderson has just the one previous winner in the race, but you are easily forgiven if you have forgotten the name of the horse, with Raffi Nelson coming home in front way back in 1980. If the market is to be believed Henderson’s long wait for a second success may well come to an end in 2020.
Currently at the head of the betting is Henderson’s 2020 RSA Chase runner up, Santini. Beaten by only half a length by the talented Paul Nicholls runner Topofthegame that day, with Delta Work back in third, he brings very strong novice form to the table, particularly as he endured an interrupted preparation for that Festival event, and also lost a shoe during the race.
Long held in the highest regard, and touted as a potential Gold Cup contender for some time now, he is yet to finish outside of the first three over fences, registering wins at Listed and Grade 2 level. He isn’t yet in the same league as his main market rival purely on the form book, but is open to significant improvement and his recent comeback win in a Listed contest at Sandown should have helped blow away the cobwebs. In a close contest, he narrowly gets our vote.
BRISTOL DE MAI – 2/1
The one they all have to beat according to the official handicapper is the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained grey, Bristol De Mai. Sitting on a current mark of 170, he is the best horse in the field on ratings, and rates a major threat to all.
Long thought of as a Haydock specialist, unable to perform to his best elsewhere, he put that theory to bed somewhat when running a cracker to finish fourth in last season’s Cheltenham Gold Cup. A repeat of that effort may well make him tough to beat here. He did lose his Betfair Chase crown at his beloved Haydock last time out, when going down to Lostintranslation, but time may prove there was no shame in that, and he’s a must for the shortlist.
DELTA WORK – 11/2
One slightly surprising name still remaining amongst the current entries is the aforementioned Delta Work from the yard of Gordon Elliott. Slightly unlucky in running when third in that RSA contest here last season, Gordon Elliott asserted at the start of the current campaign that if there was a Gold Cup horse in his yard, it was most likely this fellow. High praise indeed given the vast and talented squadron at Elliott’s disposal.
Returned to the track in November, this Gigginstown runner looked badly in need of the outing when well beaten at Down Royal. Still not expected to be quite at his peak ahead of the Grade 1 Savills Chase at Leopardstown last time out, he nevertheless produced a power-packed finish to get up close to home. Having had the likes of Road To Respect, Kemboy and Presenting Percy in behind that day, he may well take all the beating if making the trip over for this. It may prove best to wait until the day of the race with this one though, as he does also hold an entry in next week’s Irish Gold Cup.
DE RASHER COUNTER – 8/1
With Top Ville Ben seemingly exposed at this level, and Slate House lacking in experience, the best of the rest may well be Emma Lavelle’s, De Rasher Counter. This eight year old by the star flat stayer Yeats has taken a while to get the hang of what is required over fences, but has really come into his own in his two most recent starts over the larger obstacles.
Having rounded off last season with a strong staying performance to land a decent Novice contest at Uttoxeter, his first start over fences in the current campaign came in the fairly deep waters of the Ladbrokes Trophy Chase at Newbury. Getting into a lovely jumping rhythm that day, he had most of his rivals toiling long before the straight, before staying on nicely to score by just over a length. This clearly demands a significant step forward from winning a handicap off a mark of 149, but he is at least heading in the right direction and at seven years of age, does have youth on his side.
Cotswold Chase Winners
|2020||Santini||13/8||Nicky Henderson||Nico de Boinville|
|2019||Frodon||9/4||Paul Nicholls||Bryony Frost|
|2018||Definitly Red||7/1||Brian Ellison||Danny Cook|
|2017||Many Clouds||8/1||Oliver Sherwood||Leighton Aspell|
|2016||Smad Place||9/2||Alan King||Richard Johnson|
|2015||Many Clouds||4/1||Oliver Sherwood||Leighton Aspell|
|2014||The Giant Bolster||6/1||David Bridgewater||Tom Scuadmore|
|2013||Cape Tribulation||7/1||Malcom Jefferson||Denis O'Regan|
|2012||Midnight Chase||11/2||Neil Mulholland||Dougie Costello|
|2011||Neptune Collonges||11/2||Paul Nicholls||A P McCoy|
About the Cotswold Chase: Gold Cup Pointers
The countdown to the season-defining Cheltenham Festival is well and truly on by the time we reach the tail end of January each year, with trials season in full swing. When it comes to the preliminaries to March’s main course, there are few more significant than those staged at Cheltenham racecourse during January’s official Trials Day. A wide variety of runners are catered for on the card, including those whose main objective is a tilt at the big one of the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Taking place over a trip of 3m1f 156yards and held on the New Course, the Grade 2 Cotswold Chase acts as the ideal testing ground for potential Gold Cup candidates each year. Open to chasers aged five years and older, the race features 21 fences in all, prior to the ultimate lung-busting test that is the famed Cheltenham Hill.
First run in 1980, the race takes its officially registered title from the range of rolling hills in the region. It has however also featured the name of various sponsors in its title over the years, with the Tote, Timeform, wine company Bibendum and Betbright all having previously lent their support to the contest.
Pointing the Way to Future Success
Touted as one of the season’s big trials for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the race hasn’t proven to be the most prolific in highlighting the winner of March’s main event, but four runners have backed up a win here with success in the classiest chase of them all, Little Owl (1981), Master Oats (1995), See More Business (1998) and Looks Like Trouble (2000) being the quartet to achieve the famous double.
The 2020 Cotswold Chase winner Santini was the latest horse to come close to doing the double, finishing second by just a neck in the following Gold Cup to Al Boum Photo.
Dual Cotswold Chase & Gold Cup Winners
|Horse||Trainer||Cotswold Chase Win(s)||Gold Cup Win|
|Looks Like Trouble||Noel Chance||2000||2000|
|See More Business||Paul Nicholls||1998 & 2001||1999|
|Master Oats||Kim Bailey||1995||1995|
|Little Owl||Peter Easterby||1981||1981|
Having returned to win this again in 2001, in addition to claiming two King George VI Chases, there is a decent argument that it is See More Business who should go down as the greatest winner in the history of the race.
Another dual winner of this race Many Clouds (2015, 2017) also landed the most famous chase in the world when coming home in front in the 2015 Grand National, with 2011 victor Neptune Collonges achieving the same feat when getting up close to home in the 2012 edition of the Aintree showpiece. 1997 winner One Man meanwhile proved equally proficient when stepped down in trip to claim Queen Mother Champion Chase glory in 1998.
7 to 9 the Key Ages
Given how prolific a combination they were, it is perhaps surprising that Martin Pipe and Tony McCoy registered just the one success in this race. It was however a significant one, with 1999 victor Cyfor Malta being the youngest winner in the history of the race at six years of age.
At the other end of the spectrum, See More Business (2001), Grey Abbey (2005) and See You Sometime (2006) all landed the prize at the grand old age of 11 years old. Overall though the race was been dominated by runners aged between seven and nine years old, with that bracket accounting for over 81% of the winners up to and including the 2020 renewal.
Nicholls the Name to Follow
This has been a pretty tough race for trainers to rack up much of a sequence over the years, with only three handlers managing to claim top spot on more than one occasion. Lesley Ann and Combs Ditch propelled David Elsworth to back to back success in 1982 and 1983, whilst the aforementioned Many Clouds accounted for both of Oliver Sherwood’s trips to the winners enclosure. Forty years separated Nicky Henderson’s two wins in this race. Having won the very first Costwold Chase in 1980, it wasn’t until the 2020 running that Henderson added to his tally. When it comes to training performance in this race though, there is one man who stands head and shoulders above the rest.
Now needing more than the digits on two hands in order to count his British Champion Trainer titles, Paul Nicholls has racked up an impressive five wins in this event, and given his proficiency with the staying chaser, it would take a brave man to bet against him building further on this total in the years to come.