The Cotswold Chase

January 31st, 2017 | Marten's Current Racing Diary

Others have written with far more eloquence than I ever could about the tragic end to last weekend’s Cotswold Chase. All I will say is that the horse had shown signs of post-race stress on at least two other occasions and although the post-mortem found that his death was caused by an internal bleed rather than ataxia – a condition Many Clouds had exhibited previously – there must still have been concerns beforehand. Put bluntly, the nature of his demise cannot have come as a great surprise to those close to him.

Regarding the form of the race, the question it poses relates to Thistlecrack’s stamina.

He clearly could not have finished 17 lengths clear of Smad Place had he not stayed the trip, although it’s fair to say he did not get home quite as well as Many Clouds. The Gold Cup is over an additional furlong, and in my view that may prove a little beyond him, especially if the ground rides as it did on Saturday. That, though, is unlikely in six weeks’ time.

I want to take on Thistlecrack for two reasons. The first is that he still takes a chance with the occasional fence, misjudging when to take off. In my view Tom Scudamore needs to be more assertive in the saddle. The second reason is that although I expect him to stay the Gold Cup trip, others may stay it better.

I have not thought the Gold Cup through yet, but at this stage I am against the favourite and will be looking for something to beat him. I can see Bristol De Mai becoming popular at 16/1 each-way, while dual-runner-up Djakadam is entitled to go well again. The obvious each-way prospect is Native River, who is an assured stayer and sound jumper. I nominated him in my ante-post feature in the Winter Guide at 20/1, but let’s see how things unfold in the next few weeks.

Bye for now