Cotswold Chase: Timeform's runner-by-runner guide

Horses racing at Cheltenham
There's an excellent card at Cheltenham on Saturday

Timeform bring you their comprehensive runner-by-runner guide to the Coswold Chase at Cheltenham, and pick out their 1-2-3...

"...can set himself up for a Gold Cup bid by landing this Grade 2 prize..."

Timeform on Santini

1. Bristol de Mai (Nigel Twiston-Davies/Daryl Jacob)
Top-class chaser who won the Betfair Chase in 2017 and 2018 but came up short in hat-trick bid this season against the promising Lostintranslation, giving his all but having to settle for second. The very pick of his form has come at Haydock but he produced a creditable effort when third in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last season, and he sets the standard. Sometimes hampered by jumping errors.

2. Mister Whitaker (Mick Channon/ Jonathan Burke)
Smart chaser who enjoyed an especially productive season during his novice campaign in 2017/18, winning on this card before following up at the Festival. Produced his best effort to date when winning a listed intermediate chase at Carlisle on reappearance last season and bounced back from some lesser efforts to land the Silver Trophy here in April. Caught the eye when fifth here in a handicap on New Year's Day, but has plenty to find on form.

3. De Rasher Counter (Emma Lavelle/ Adam Wedge)
Smart chaser who produced a career-best effort to win the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury last time, winning by a length and a half but looking in control from four out. Strong stayer who is likely to progress further over fences, so not one to rule out, for all improvement is required.

4. Santini (Nicky Henderson/ Nico de Boinville)
Grade 1-winning hurdler who developed into a leading novice over fences last season, landing a Grade 2 at Newbury before finishing a creditable third in the Kauto Star Novices' Chase, finding the race an insufficient test of stamina. Produced best effort yet when runner-up in a strong RSA Chase here at the Festival, looking a serious Gold Cup prospect. He made heavy weather of justifying odds-on favouritism on return at Sandown in November, just holding on after idling markedly on the run-in, but he has since had wind surgery and remains with potential as a chaser. Holds leading claims.

5. Top Ville Ben (Philip Kirby/ Tommy Dowson)
Racked up three wide-margin wins during productive novice campaign last season, and has progressed again this term. He needed the run on his return in Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby, where he went with zest before dropping away tamely, but he has shown improved form the last twice, shaping best when third in the Rehearsal Chase and then producing career best to land the Rowland Meyrick. Doesn't have much to find on form.

6. Slate House (Colin Tizzard/ Robbie Power)
Endured a disappointing campaign over fences last season, failing to win in four attempts, but has proved a revelation since undergoing another breathing operation and returning from a break, unlucky not to be four from four this season having fallen at the second-last when going well in the BetVictor Gold Cup. Made Grade 1 breakthrough in the Kauto Star Novices' Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day and is capable of better, so is highly respected.

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