Cotswold Chase Preview – Saturday 6th February

Last updated: February 4, 2021 by Leon Marshal

Sandown will stage an all chase fixture on Saturday after the wet weather made the hurdles course un-raceable. The meeting features the re-scheduled Cotswold Chase which was lost last weekend when Cheltenham was abandoned. The Grade 2 contest over three miles is a trial for the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Notable past winners include One Man (1997), See More Business (1998, 2001), Neptune Collonges (2011) and Many Clouds (2015, 2017). Last year’s race was won by Santini who went on to finish second in the Gold Cup.

horses running on track

Santini Bids To Bounce Back From Kempton Defeat

Nicky Henderson supplemented Santini for the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day. He never really looked happy on the track and was soon outpaced with four to jump. He eventually stayed on into fifth place behind Frodon without threatening to challenge. The heavy ground will be a big concern for Henderson as he does not want any of his Cheltenham horses having too hard a race in their preparation for the festival.

Bristol De Mai once again demonstrated his liking for Haydock Park when scoring a third victory in the Grade 1 Betfair Chase in November. He defeated Clan Des Obeaux by two lengths on his first start since finishing a remote ninth in last season’s Gold Cup. The popular grey has not raced at Sandown since winning here as a novice back in 2016, but the track should suit his front-running style.

2018 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Native River is now eleven years of age and has managed only three racecourse appearances since Cheltenham 2019. His most recent start was in the Many Clouds Chase at Aintree in December when third to Lake View Lad and Santini. That was an odd race with the last two fences omitted, resulting in a long flat race up the home straight. That would not have suited either Native River or Santini who are both relentless gallopers. Native River’s liking for soft ground is well documented.

Lake View Lad Aims To Follow Up Aintree Victory

Lake View Lad sprang a 16-1 surprise when winning at Aintree last time for Nick Alexander. He has earned entries in both the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Grand National. He was pulled up in the 2019 Grand National with connections blaming the faster ground for his poor display. The grey will have his favoured soft ground on Saturday as he bids to show that his Aintree win was no fluke.

Yala Enki notched his eighth win over fences when beating If The Cap Fits by five lengths at Taunton a fortnight ago. That run followed a brave effort in the Welsh Grand National when finishing a close third to Secret Reprieve under 11st 12lbs. He fell at the first fence on his only previous run over fences at Sandown but that was back in 2018. Bryony Frost has ridden him in his last eight races and he is likely to race up with the pace throughout. The field is completed by Saint Calvados, runner-up to Min in a thrilling Ryanair Chase at last season’s Cheltenham Festival. He did not race again until the King George when finishing fourth to Frodon, losing two places on the run-in. That was his first run over three miles and there remains a doubt about his stamina.

Cotswold Chase Betting Tips

Bristol De Mai @2-1 SkyBet

The Cotswold Chase is due off at 2.20 at Sandown Park on Saturday 6th February and will be shown live on ITV4.