Cotswold Chase Betting Tips: Gold Cup Hopefuls On Trial
The road to Cheltenham really cranks up this Saturday as course hosts Cheltenham Festival Trials Day, starring the Grade 2 Cotswold Chase.
Often a pointer to the Cheltenham Gold Cup itself, the Cotswold Chase betting is headed by course specialist Frodon at 9/4 with Swedish firm Unibet. He's been a revelation so far this season, winning the Old Roan Chase at Aintree, finishing second in the BetVictor Gold Cup under topweight, then winning the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup for a second time.
The Paul Nicholls-trained seven-year-old has now achieved a career-high handicap mark of 169, ranking him upwards of 9lbs superior to his Cotswold Chase rivals, begging the question, who could bet against him? Well, me.
Gold Cup Trial
The Cotswold Chase used to be a formidable Cheltenham Gold Cup trial, and for good reason, as it's run over 3m1f - almost the Gold Cup distance - at Cheltenham.
The 2018 winner Definitly Red, trained by Brian Ellison, finished sixth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, as did 2016 winner Smad Place, and 2015 winner Many Clouds, who won the same year's Aintree Grand National.
|Year||Winner||Gold Cup Position||Rating|
|2014||The Giant Bolster||3/13||160|
The 2014 winner The Giant Bolster was third in the Gold Cup on his next outing, and the 2010 runner-up Carruthers went on to be fourth in Imperial Commander's Gold Cup.
Looking back to when it was truly a Gold Cup trial, Little Owl (1981), Master Oats (1995) and Looks Like Trouble (2000) all won before winning Blue Riband a few weeks later. With no runner shorter than 20/1 in this year's Gold Cup betting, it's unlikely the winner is in the field, but there are Cheltenham Festival clues on offer, nonetheless.
Cotswold Chase 10-Year-Trends
- 10/10 winners had at least one win at Grade 3 level or higher, the last three winners having also won at Grade 2 level
- 10/10 winners had run at least twice at Cheltenham before, six winning
- 9/10 winners had at least three chase victories to their name
- 9/10 winners were officially rated 153 or higher, the exception was Cape Tribulation (151) in 2007.
- 9/10 winners were aged 9 or over, the exception being Many Clouds (2015) who won aged eight (and then again aged 10).
- 7/10 winners went on to run in the Gold Cup, one placing
- 0/10 favourites have won, though Smad Place was the second favourite in 2016
With Jonjo O’Neill’s Minella Rocco looking increasingly likely to head to Doncaster for the Great Yorkshire Chase, and Elegant Escape likely to take a break after a series of hard races, there looks to be only three recommended bets.
However, the fact that Frodon is favourite, carries the most penalties and has lack of experience beyond the preferred 2m4f-2m5f draw us to the Simon Munir and Isaac Souede-owned pair: Terrefort and Valtor.
The Nicky Henderson-trained Terrefort (nap) makes his eagerly-awaited return to action in Saturday's Cotswold Chase, holding entries in the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Ryanair Chase, the former the target should he perform with credit.
Last season the six-year-old won two Grade 1s - the Scilly Isles Novices' Chase and the Mildmay Novices' Chase - but picked up a hamstring injury on his only run this season at Sandown.
That was back in November, Terrefort given plenty of time to recuperate and hopefully returning as good as new. If he is back to the level he showed last season, he has a live shout in this race and looks the best bet.
Is There Another Bet?
Welsh Grand National hero Elegant Escape holds an entry, but connections have indicated that he will be taking a break, and heading straight to the Gold Cup next month. Having said that, he is 7/2 joint second favourite, however, it remains to be seen whether the Colin-Tizzard seven-year-old lines up.
Absent from last weekend’s Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock was Valtor, but it will come as somewhat of a surprise if he lines up against stablemate Terrefort, who is also owned by Simon Munir and Isaac Souede.
In the interests of never-say-never, Valtor was an unknown quantity last time out, having done all of his racing in France, but he put his rivals to the sword in the Silver Cup Handicap Chase. A repeat of that run would make him a difficult nut to crack as he steps up in class.
The 10-year-old, who finished sixth in the Group 1 Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris in May, was purchased specifically with the 2019 Grand National in mind, so this will be a further stepping-stone along that path.
Valtor is 6/1 with Betfair for this race, 50/1 for the Gold Cup and 33/1 for the Grand National, which is definitely a classic case of you pays your money and you takes your choice for the ante-post punter.
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