Polly Gundry is to test Santini’s claims for the Cheltenham Gold Cup by running him in the Paddy Power Cotswold Chase at the Prestbury Park venue later this month.
The 10-year-old is no stranger to either race, winning the Cotswold in 2020 before finishing a neck second to Al Boum Photo in the Gold Cup.
Santini was trained by Nicky Henderson then but has been moved to Gundry’s stable in Devon and made his debut for the yard when fourth to Commodore in a handicap chase at Cheltenham last month.
“We’ve entered him in the Gold Cup, but he will aim for the Cotswold Chase first and if he runs well there then we will go for the Gold Cup,” said Gundry.
“We knew he was a bit short (of fitness) and he was going OK until Venetia Williams’ horse (Commodore) quickened and we tried to go with it, but he has come on for that run.
“He was just a bit too burly last time but if we can get him leaner and if he gets a bit of luck in running, he could go well.
“There were a few other options but Richard (Kelvin-Hughes, owner) wasn’t keen on going back in a handicap and he has run some good races around Cheltenham, so we saw no reason why not to go back.
“It is a great honour to have him as he is the most gorgeous horse and is a real gentle giant. He has been very well looked after by Nicky Henderson.”