Cheltenham Festival 2020: Santini to continue Henderson’s great week by winning Gold Cup


Santini on his way to winning the Grade 2 Paddy Power Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham in January. (Pic: Courtesy of Cheltenham Racecourse).

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NICKY Henderson this week became the leading festival trainer of all time and can continue his great form by winning the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup with Santini.

Henderson has been in phenomenal form with four wins in the first two days of the festival to boost his all-time tally at this meeting to a record 68 victories.

Doubles on the first day with Shishkin (Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle) and Epatante (Unibet Champion Hurdle) and then Champ (RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase) and Dame De Compagnie (Coral Cup) on Wednesday have (at the time of writing) propelled Henderson to the top of the The Irish Independent Leading Trainer Award standings for the 2020 festival.

Henderson targets his third win in the Gold Cup after the victories of Long Run (2011) and Bobs Worth (2013) and has a great chance to add to that tally with the ultra-consistent Santini (4-1), whose nine starts have resulted in six wins and three places.

Santini is a dual course winner at Cheltenham, but has yet to win at the festival. He was third in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle in 2018 and second in the RSA Novices’ Chase last year and is taken to improve on those efforts this time.

Santini has won both starts this campaign, landing a Listed chase at over three miles at Sandown on his return.

The eight-year-old followed up with victory in a three miles and one and a half furlong Grade 2 at Cheltenham in January where he finished three and a half lengths ahead of Bristol De Mai, who was third in last year’s Gold Cup and re-opposes on Friday.

The main dangers are likely to be Presenting Percy (12-1) – who was favourite for last year’s Gold Cup but finished lame – and Monalee who looks a great each way bet at 25-1.

3.30pm Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup (Grade 1), 3m 2f 70y

1 Al Boum Photo (FR) 8 11 10 W. P. Mullins IRE / P. Townend

2 Bristol de Mai (FR) 9 11 10 Nigel Twiston-Davies / Daryl Jacob

3 Chris’s Dream (IRE) 8 11 10 Henry de Bromhead IRE / Aidan Coleman

4 Clan des Obeaux (FR) 8 11 10 Paul Nicholls / Harry Cobden

5 Delta Work (FR) h,ts 7 11 10 Gordon Elliott IRE /tba

6 Elegant Escape (IRE) 8 11 10 Colin Tizzard / Jonjo O’Neill Jr.

7 Kemboy (FR) 8 11 10 W. P. Mullins IRE / Mr P. W. Mullins

8 Lostintranslation (IRE) ts 8 11 10 Colin Tizzard / Robbie Power

9 Monalee (IRE) 9 11 10 Henry de Bromhead IRE / Rachael Blackmore

10 Presenting Percy ts 9 11 10 Patrick G. Kelly IRE / Davy Russell

11 Real Steel (FR) 7 11 10 W. P. Mullins IRE / tba

12 Santini p 8 11 10 Nicky Henderson / Nico de Boinville

Horse Talk with Simon Jackson. Showcasing horse racing in London and the south east.