Dusart

Cheltenham Trials Day tips: Paddy Power Cotswold Chase preview


Our expert looks ahead to Trials Day at Cheltenham on Saturday with a horse-by-horse guide to the Paddy Power Cotswold Chase.


Paddy Power Cotswold Chase

When: 2.25, Saturday January 28

Where: Cheltenham Racecourse

First prize: £67,524

TV: ITV1 & Racing TV (Sky 426)

Racecards & FREE video form

Sky Bet odds | Paddy Power | Betfair Sportsbook

Get Stuck In: Cheltenham Trials Day and Sky Bet Chase preview


Ahoy Senor (Lucinda Russell)

Ahoy Senor flies over the last at Aintree

Hugely talented gelding who disappointed favourite-backers in the Charlie Hall Chase and Many Clouds Chase earlier this season, having ended last term on a Grade 1 high at Aintree's Grand National Festival.

No better when fifth (of nine) in the King George at Kempton when last seen so the jury is very much out regarding his overall well-being and especially his jumping which has gone backwards so far this year.

Was a good second to L'Homme Presse in the Brown Advisory at the Festival on his only previous visit to Cheltenham and a thorough test of stamina could spark something positive, but hard to have any confidence right now.


Dusart (Nicky Henderson)

Dusart in winning action at Leicester

Trainer won this race twice in the past three years and every chance he's had it on the agenda since the start of the season.

Disappointing on the face of it when sent off favourite for a three-mile handicap hurdle at the International meeting here in December but that turned into a bit more of a speed test (good ground, obstacles omitted) and it's probably best ignored as a reliable piece of form.

Had ended novice chase campaign with a handicap win at Ayr in April, successfully defying a mark of 147, so doesn't have a huge amount to find to be a real threat in this company.


Frodon (Paul Nicholls)

Frodon and Bryony Forst on their way to victory

Seemingly on the decline now having become something of a stalwart for the yard in recent seasons.

He's still rated to be seriously competitive in this field and he won the corresponding race in 2019 but testing conditions don't help his jumping technique and there are some younger legs to keep him honest here.


Noble Yeats (Emmet Mullins)

Noble Yeats is in control at the last

Not your average Grand National winner, having struck gold at Aintree as a seven-year-old novice, but had looked a potentially classy stayer earlier last season before one or two blips on the road to National glory under the retiring Sam Waley-Cohen.

Pulled-up on his seasonal comeback at Auteuil in mid-October but pretty impressive in two starts under Sean Bowen since, winning Listed event at Wexford before showing a bright change of gear in the Many Clouds Chase back at the scene of his finest hour.

He handles all types of ground, clearly stays as well as anything and still looks open to further improvement for his shrewd handler. The only time he's been to Cheltenham was a relatively low-key run in last season's Ultima at the Festival but that looked a bit of a fact-finding mission on debut for current owners ahead of the big target in April.

In short, there's a lot to like as he bids to rubber-stamp his Gold Cup claims this weekend.


Protektorat (Dan Skelton)

Harry Skelton celebrates Protektorat's Betfair Chase win

Arrived from France with a decent reputation and although he took a little while to get to grips with racing in Britain, he really came good once switched to fences a couple of seasons ago, ending up with a Grade 1 novice success at Aintree in 2021.

Progressed again last term despite just adding the Many Clouds to his win-tally, and took form to new levels altogether on his seasonal comeback in Haydock's Betfair Chase in November.

Task was undeniably made easier by the non-completion of odds-on favourite A Plus Tard but hard to fault his jumping and the manner in which he galloped right away from his rivals in the closing stages.

Stamina looks his forte and the more rain the better so very difficult to envisage anything other than a bold bid, especially with his yard having emerged from a slightly quieter Christmas spell over the past few weeks.

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Sounds Russian (Ruth Jefferson)

Sounds Russian in action

Has improved almost out of recognition since first going chasing in November 2021, increasing his rating from 111 to 161.

Impressed when scoring at Kelso on his first run back this season but outpaced by Noble Yeats late on in the Many Clouds before just bumping into a better-treated rival (Into Overdrive) when beaten half a length in the Rowland Meyrick over Christmas.

This inevitably demands a bit more of him and he has no previous Cheltenham experience to draw upon, although his style of racing could result in him really taking to the place.


VERDICT

This is going to be billed as a clash between Gold Cup hopefuls Protektorat and Noble Yeats but ratings have gone out of the window in this race in the past and it's not hard to envisage a bit of an upset.

Sounds Russian lost very little in defeat when only narrowly failing to reel in Into Overdrive - to whom he was conceding 13lb in weight - in the Rowland Meyrick at Wetherby on Boxing Day and he's quite tempting, but preference is for the unexposed DUSART, who looks likely to run here over Doncaster on Saturday (Nico De Boinville booked).

Representing the Nicky Henderson yard that has done well in this event in recent seasons, he looked badly in need of the outing when unplaced on his seasonal return in a handicap hurdle at this track in December.

I think you can put a line through that effort and he's sitting on a whole load of untapped potential going back over fences this weekend, having signed off last term with an impressive success at Ayr's big spring meeting.

He still looked a bit raw in the Brown Advisory at the Festival prior to Ayr but will have benefited for the experience and this contest could really suit him.


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