Cotswold Chase 2018 Trends

Cheltenham Tips and Trends - Cotswold Chase

It’s very difficult to think of the Cotswold Chase for any reason other than the great Many Clouds, who sadly passed away after winning this race twelve months ago. A warrior and a champion, the Grand National winner defeated the mighty Thistlecrack that day, who remained the antepost favourite for the 2017 Gold Cup until his later injury. In that vein, this race can give us some very helpful clues for both Cheltenham and Aintree, with this 3m 1f test usually ending up being a complete slog. The brilliant Many Clouds won this race for the first time in 2015, going on to win the Grand National months later. Neptune Collonges was another who won this race and went on to Grand National glory, with horses such as The Giant Bolster and Smad Place running well in the Gold Cup subsequent to their victories. As always, there are trends we can follow to try and find the winner and we’ve listed them all below.

Trends

  • Favourites graveyard – Since 2000, no horse has won this race when sent off the favourite
  • Prestbury Park experience is crucial – Since 2000, all winners bar one had raced at Cheltenham over fences at least once previously
  • Going the distance – Thirteen of the previous fourteen winners had all raced over at least the three mile distance previously
  • Golden oldies – Since 2000, only six horses have won this race at the age of eight or younger

The trends would tentatively go with Definitly Red, whose only previous Cheltenham visit was a fall but he’s improved exponentially since. As a nine year old, he’s the perfect age and he stays further than this. This race is a graveyard for favourites and at a best priced 13/2, he looks a good each-way poke at present.

Analysis

A race that can give us plenty of clues towards both Cheltenham and Aintree, the short priced antepost favourite is the Nigel Twiston-Davies trained Bristol De Mai. The trends however are firmly against him, as no favourite since 2000 has won this race. Age is another question mark, as only four seven year olds have won this race since it was first run in 1980. Poor ground is another thing he desperately needs away from the trends and with the ground only Good to Soft at present, he needs the heavens to open.

Stamina is absolutely crucial to winning this race as previous winners would indicate and The Last Samuri has it in droves. Second in the 2016 Grand National, he ran above expectations on return and was a gallant second in the Becher on his latest start. He does lack previous Cheltenham experience though and that is a worry trends wise, with only one winner since 2000 not having previously jumped the Cheltenham fences. Another who is very much stamina heavy is Definitly Red, who beat the aforementioned rival in the Grimthorpe back in March, albeit receiving twelve pounds that day. He has improved markedly since though and is now rated the same as The Last Samuri. His only previous visit to the this venue resulted in a fall after a poor round of jumping, but he’s improved markedly since and much better can be expected here.

Unseating in the 2017 Gold Cup at this venue, Tea For Two wiped that memory when claiming the Betway Bowl just a month later. He has been very much hit and miss this season, but was a very respectable third at Kempton in the King George when last seen. His early exit from the Gold Cup has to be a niggling concern on his return to this venue, but the ground looks as though it’ll fall into his favour and he’s very much of interest with the form of the Nick Williams team. His yard are flying at present and his nine year old is also in the perfect age range, which furthers his claims from a trends perspective.

Of the remainder, many will be giving another chance to Coneygree, who has been bitterly disappointing this season. He fits the bill trends wise, a ten year old who has won previously at Cheltenham and he is most certainly not the favourite. Two pulled up efforts this season are the big concern for his chances, dropping out tamely from the front in the Ladbrokes Trophy last month and you have to wonder, how many chances can he be given despite his issues? American was hugely progressive last season and is very much the ‘could be anything’ horse in the race, hugely disadvantaged by a standing start in the Ladbrokes Trophy on his latest start. The trends are against him though, with no previous Cheltenham experience and perhaps he may just come unstuck against some more streetwise rivals if they are to be followed.

By Owen Goulding.

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