Cotswold Chase Ante-Post Betting Preview

With Thistlecrack entered into Saturday’s G2 Cotswold Chase (Cheltenham), there’s no prize for guessing which horse dominates our ante-post market. Those looking to oppose Colin Tizzard’s amazing inmate will be hoping that this race has come too quickly, after Thistlecrack’s brilliant performance that saw him win the King George VI Chase in style. The 2 other horses, that punters feel are in with a realistic chance, are as follows…

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Smad Place

It’s been a year since Alan King’s Smadoun-sired horse won a race and he’s now a 10-year-old. That victory came in last season’s renewal of this contest and he won by a handsome 12 lengths. Smad Place paid the price for front-running in the Gold Cup and was beaten at least 4 fences from home. A more competitive performance followed, in the G2 Old Roan Handicap Chase, but he looked very short of gears in the G3 Hennessy Gold Cup Handicap Chase. In his defence, there aren’t too many horses that are going to give a horse like Native River an 11lb advantage and finish within 10 lengths of him.

Many Clouds

Finished 2nd behind Smad Place in last season’s renewal and the 2015 Grand National Champion has fared well since then. Many Clouds’ unsuccessful defence of his Aintree crown was bookended by a brace of Listed victories. He was 10-lengths better than Paul Nicholls’ Unioniste (who was 4lb better-off) at Kelso in March and he inflicted more pain on the Champion Trainer when Le Mercurey was put to the sword back in Liverpool. The highly-rated French horse was given a 5lb advantage in that encounter and Many Clouds looks the most-likely to rain on Thistlecrack’s parade, should this year’s Gold Cup favourite stutter on Saturday. Won this race in 2015.

Optimistic bettors might be tempted by the odds on offer for horses such as Kylemore Lough, Silviniaco Conti, Shantou Flyer and Vezelay (an interesting French immigrant who impressed on his English debut, finishing 3rd in the G1 Lancashire Chase), but Thistlecrack is currently flooring top-class opponents like a young Mike Tyson in the mid-1980s. This could well be another procession, but at least the rising star’s gravity-defying leaps should make it one worth watching.

Notable Cotswold Chase Winners

Also known as the Argento Chase, this race is for horses aged at least 5 years. The race distance is slightly more than 3 miles and the New Course is always used. There are 21 fences to be negotiated, in what is always seen as an important trial for the Gold Cup.

Other horses to have won this race include Master Oats, One Man, See More Business (twice), Exotic Dancer, Neptune Collonges and Cheltenham favourite The Giant Bolster.

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