Cotswold Chase Tips: Stay on the Right side of Aye at Cheltenham

Chantry House is a hot favourite for Saturday's Cotswold Chase
Chantry House is a hot favourite for Saturday's Cotswold Chase

There could be notable Cheltenham Gold Cup clues on Saturday during Festival Trials Day, as the Nicky Henderson-trained Chantry House looks to get back to winning ways in the Cotswold Chase, and he heads the field of five lining up for the showpiece event. We preview the Grade 2 race here and pick out our best bet...

Back in 2000, the Noel Chance-trained Looks Like Trouble bounded to a 30-length success in the Cotswold Chase (was named Pillar Property Chase then) before returning in March to claim Cheltenham Gold Cup glory. Over two decades have past since that day at the turn of century and no horse has managed to land the coveted Cheltenham double, but Chantry House will be looking to emulate the legendary Chance raider and Nicky Henderson's star will be a red-hot favourite for Saturday's Cotswold Chase.

As big as 16/1 for the Cheltenham Gold Cup on March 18, Chantry House will be eager to bounce back from a poor showing in the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day, where he was pulled up in the early stages of the race. Never going a yard that day, the Seven Barrows raider will enjoy a return to Prestbury Park, as last season he bounded to glory in the Marsh Novices' Chase. He may have benefitted from the early tumble of Envoi Allen that day, but Chantry House showed real class to run out a notable winner.

However, on Saturday he will step up in trip for this 3m 1f 56y contest and his stamina will be well and truly tested. He will need to win this and win it well, if he is to be regarded a Gold Cup horse, and while he has shown to be a class act over fences, his stamina has to be a slight worry, and backing him at odds-on - albeit in a weak renewal - could be a little silly.

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One rival that could really test the stamina of Chantry House is the Harriet Graham-trained Aye Right, who was last seen bounding to a fine win in the 3m Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle. Third in the Ultima Handicap Chase at last season's Cheltenham Festival, he ended the campaign finishing down the field in the Scottish Grand National at Ayr. So, seeing him line up in that marathon event shows that he will most certainly be doing his best work at the finish and he will test Chantry House to the max.

As big as 100/1 for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Aye Right is unlikely to have the class to deal with some of the leading Irish protagonists at the head of the market in the Gold Cup, but having shown he can run well at Cheltenham last season, and with Chantry House having notable question marks over him then Aye Right could be the value play in what is a winnable contest.

A former winner of the Plate at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival, Simply The Betts will look to taste more success at GL50 and lines up for Paul Nicholls. Having pulled up in the Grade 2 Many Clouds Chase at Aintree two starts ago, he bounced back to form with a fine second placed finish behind Vienna Court at Cheltenham on New Year's Day, but he will need to improve on that now out of the handicap sphere.

Santini was a fine winner of this race back in 2020, but the former Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up has lost his way in recent times, and he will be looking to recapture his form here. Now in the hands of Polly Gundry following a switch from Nicky Henderson, Santini was last seen running well for a long way behind Commodore at Cheltenham, before tiring late on. This could prove to be a little hot for him, but the relentless galloper will be another that will enjoy his return to Cheltenham, and he could make the top three.

Completing the quintet is Kauto Riko, who was last seen pulling up in the New Year's Day event that saw Simply The Betts come second, and on all form he looks to face a really tough test to land any sort of blow in a race that can go the way of the Graham team and Aye Right.

Cotswold Chase
Aye Right silk

Aye Right

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