Cotswold Chase

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The Cotswold Chase is a Grade 2 race over an extended three miles and a furlong at Cheltenham in January. The race is a trial for the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March.

Early winners of the event include Little Owl (1981), Master Oats (1995), One Man (1997) and See More Business (1998 and 2001).

In more recent years the race has been won by Grand National winners Neptune Collonges (2011) and Many Clouds (2015 and 2017).

The Cheltenham Cotswold Chase takes place in January 2024.

Find out more about the Cotswold Chase:

Cotswold Chase

Race Overview – The Cotswold Chase

Horses five years old or older may compete in the Grade 2 National Hunt steeplechase, the Cotswold Chase. 

There are twenty-one obstacles to jump throughout the race, which is run over a distance of approximately 3 miles and 112 furlongs (3 miles 1 furlong and 156 yards, or 5,172 metres), on the New Course at Cheltenham.

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Famous Cotswold Chase Winners

The Cotswold Chase was first run in 1980 with victory going to Raffi Nelson, trained by Nicky Henderson and ridden by Steve Smith-Eccles. 1981 winner Little Owl won the Cheltenham Gold Cup for Peter Easterby and Amateur rider Jim Wilson.

David Elsworth trained the next two winners with Lesley Ann and Combs Ditch. 1985 winner West Tip was a faller when going well in the Grand National that year. He returned the following season to win the race for Trainer Michael Oliver and jockey Richard Dunwoody.

West Tip became an Aintree regular, running in six successive Nationals and finishing runner-up in 1989 at the age of twelve.

The high quality of Cotswold Chase winners was maintained through the 1980s and 1990s. Toby Tobias (1990), Celtic Shot (1991) and Dubacilla (1994) were all Gold Cup class. The 1995 winner Master Oats won the Cheltenham Gold Cup for Kim Bailey and Norman Williamson. He ran in three Grand Nationals but never recaptured his best form and was retired in 1998.

1997 winner One Man never won the Gold Cup but he did win the King George VI Chase in 1995 and 1996. His other notable successes included the Ascot Chase and the Queen Mother Champion Chase in 1998.

See More Business became the first dual winner of the Cotswold Chase in 1998 and 2001. He won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1999, the King George VI Chase in 1997 and 1999 and the Betfair Bowl in 2000.

Looks Like Trouble won the Cotswold Chase and the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2000 for Trainer Noel Chance.

The most recent Gold Cup winner to add their name to the roll of honour was Native River in 2021. He won this race as an eleven-year-old having won the Gold Cup in 2018 for Colin Tizzard and Richard Johnson.

Many Clouds won the race in 2015 and 2017 and would also go on to become an Aintree legend. He won the Grand National in 2015, the first horse to win that race and the Hennessy Gold Cup in the same season. After a prolonged duel with Thistlecrack in this race in 2017 he tragically collapsed and died. He paid the ultimate price for his sheer determination to win, a sad end to a glorious career.

Cotswold Chase Previous Result

Check out the latest result from this race:

Key Cotswold Chase Trials

Previous Cheltenham form is a key factor for winners of the Cotswold Chase. All twelve recent winners of this race had already run at least twice at Cheltenham and eight of them had recorded at least one victory.

Ten of the last twelve winners ran in the Cheltenham Gold Cup but all were defeated. Santini finished second for Nicky Henderson in 2020 and The Giant Bolster finished third for David Bridgwater in 2014.

Frodon won this race in 2019 for Paul Nicholls who resisted the temptation to run in the Gold Cup in favour of the shorter Ryanair Chase. The decision was vindicated with a memorable victory for Frodon and Bryony Frost.

Favourites have a surprisingly poor recent record in the Cotswold Chase. Only two favourites have obliged in the past twelve seasons; Santini at 13-8 in 2020 and Chantry House at 5-6 in 2022, both trained by Nicky Henderson and ridden by Nico de Boinville.

There have also been two winning second favourites and two third favourites. The longest-priced winner during that period was Many Clouds at 8-1 in 2017.

The race usually attracts only a small field, reaching double figures only once in those 12 seasons. That was in 2013 when Cape Tribulation won at 7-1 for Malcolm Jefferson.

The Cotswold Chase tends to be won by established chasers.

The youngest winner in history was Cyfor Malta as a six-year-old in 1999.

There have been four winning eleven-year-olds, the most recent being Native River in 2021.

Cotswold Chase – Top Trainers and Jockeys

Paul Nicholls has won the Cotswold Chase five times; See More Business (1998 and 2001), Taranis (2010), Neptune Collonges (2011) and Frodon (2019).

Nicky Henderson has four victories to his credit in this race dating back to inaugural winner Raffi Nelson (1980). His second winner was forty years later with Santini (2020) and he followed up two years’ later with Chantry House (2022).

Steve Smith-Eccles, Tony McCoy and Richard Johnson all won the Cotswold Chase on three occasions. Johnson’s three victories came aboard Behrajan (2003), Smad Place (2016) and Native River (2021).

Betting on the Cotswold Chase

The Cotswold Chase has not been a major pointer to the Cheltenham Gold Cup in recent years with the most influential trials taking place in Ireland. However, it is still a high-quality contest and is capable of producing a live contender for Cheltenham or for the Aintree Grand National.

One of the highlights of Cheltenham Trials Day in January.

Facts about the Cotswold Chase

  • The Cotswold Chase is a National Hunt steeplechase in England which is open to horses aged five years or older.
  • The race is run on the New Course at Cheltenham Racecourse over a distance of 3 miles and 2 furlongs (5,331 metres), and during its running, there are 21 fences to be jumped.

Summary of the Cotswold Chase

Thank you for reading our Cotswold Chase guide.

A top-class in its own right, it is also a key Cheltenham Gold Cup trail. We have looked at history, trends, betting, tips and more.

We hope you enjoy this year’s race!

Here are all of January’s horse racing-related posts: