Paddy Power Cotswold Chase
|Grade 2, Cheltenham 13:50
3m 1f 56y, Class 1
1 Capodanno 7/2
2 The Real Whacker 7/2
3 Stay Away Fay 3/1F
6 ran Distances: 2¾l, ¾l, 6½l
Time: 6m 48.88s (slow by 23.88s)
Capodanno does the business 💪— CheltenhamRacecourse (@CheltenhamRaces) January 27, 2024
He's impressive in the Paddy Power Cotswold Chase 🏆 pic.twitter.com/DKJFc3ymUg
Capodanno showcased Willie Mullins' strong hand in the Cheltenham Gold Cup by comfortably winning here.
Although he was no match for stablemate and reigning Gold Cup holder Galopin Des Champs at Christmas, finishing a distant third, Capodanno faced a competitive field in the Grade Two event, including the talented novice Stay Away Fay.
The Real Whacker, a Festival winner as a novice last season, led the field to halfway, with Ahoy Senor applying pressure from the inside. Stay Away Fay, Royale Pagaille, and Capodanno all made threatening moves at various points, creating a tight contest approaching the second last hurdle.
The Real Whacker was the first to falter, and unfortunately, there was a tack malfunction for Ahoy Senor, ridden by Stephen Mulqueen. With Stay Away Fay losing pace, Capodanno and jockey Paul Townend surged ahead, ultimately defeating a staying-on The Real Whacker by two and three-quarter lengths.
The race took a somber turn as Coral Gold Cup winner Datsalrightgino sustained a fatal injury after falling early on.
“It was very straightforward and a small field. I was going to ride my horse to suit him and it worked out,” said Townend
“He promised a performance like that. He showed as a novice he was going to be a force to be reckoned with but I don’t think we got the clearest of runs with him, but they seem to be able to train him now and keep going with him and I thought it was a good performance.
“He had been doing everything well (at home) and he was very close to Gerri Colombe the last day and if Gerri Colombe would have been here, then he would have been very short (in the betting).
“He was probably a bit overlooked but when people studied the race, they noticed that and he went off a lot shorter than he was in the middle of the week. He had to back up that Leopardstown run and he did today.
“I would probably have liked to have jumped the last, it was a long run without it, but it turned out fine. It’s a special place to come and it’s always lovely to ride a winner here on a big day.”
Capodanno’s only Festival entry is in the Ryanair Chase and Townend said: “He could drop back for the Ryanair and that will be down to Willie and Frank (Berry, racing manager for owner JP McManus) and JP’s team.
“I was lucky to get the leg-up on him today and I’m not usually in these colours, but with Mark (Walsh) going to Doncaster and jockeys going everywhere and Lossiemouth coming here, it all fell right. ”
Patrick Mullins was at Doncaster and the assistant trainer said: “We do think that Galopin Des Champs is a better horse, but Capodanno was a Grade One winner at Punchestown and then last year he got no clear run, I’d ignore his runs from last year.
“He was well treated today and he’s a high-class horse. Would we be surprised if he turned it round with Galopin Des Champs? We would, but we’ve been surprised before.”
Patrick Neville, trainer of The Real Whacker, said: “I was delighted with that.
“The ground would be a little bit deader than we would have liked, but he ran a great race amongst a top-class field. When you see the likes of Ahoy Senor and that lad there (Capodanno), it’s great to be here to compete with them.
“We will look forward to March and the Gold Cup, hopefully the sun will shine.”
Paul Nicholls’ faith in Stay Away Fay was undiminished in defeat, with a novice engagement at the Festival next on his agenda.
He said: “He has learned an awful lot today. He landed on the ditch first time round and the one later he pecked on landing probably didn’t help. I think he half blew up a little bit turning in and then he stayed on late.
“We are thrilled as he has probably learned more today than any race he has run in. He has not been beaten far, and at the weights he had an impossible task. I think that has put him right for the Festival.
“He is one of those horses you don’t want to run too quick. Last year he got beat at Doncaster, then he improved massively from there to Cheltenham and he will still improve. He will 100 per cent go for the Brown Advisory.”
£120,000 guaranteed, 5yo plus, 3m 1f 56y, Class 1
Going: Good to Soft
1 Capodanno 8 11-4 W P Mullins Paul Townend 7/2
2 2¾ The Real Whacker 8 11-7 Patrick Neville Sam Twiston-Davies 7/2
3 ¾ Stay Away Fay 7 11-7 Paul Nicholls Harry Cobden 3/1F
4 6½ Ahoy Senor 9 11-10 Lucinda Russell Stephen Mulqueen 10/1
FELL Royale Pagaille 10 11-10 Venetia Williams Charlie Deutsch 6/1
FELL Datsalrightgino 8 11-8 Jamie Snowden Gavin Sheehan 5/1
COTSWOLD CHASE - Past Results
Year Horse Owner Trainer Weight Jockey SP
1980 Raffi Nelson Mrs P Fry Nicky Henderson 7-11-06 Steve Smith Eccles 5/2
1981 Little Owl R Wilson Peter Easterby 7-11-12 Mr Jim Wilson 8/11f
1982 Lesley Ann B Gaule David Elsworth 8-11-12 Colin Brown 5/2
1983 Combs Ditch Jim Tory David Elsworth 7-11-08 Colin Brown 6/1
1984 Everett Kilian Hennessy Fulke Walwyn 9-11-08 Stuart Shilston 15/8f
1985 West Tip Peter Luff Michael Oliver 8-11-06 Richard Dunwoody 5/2
1986 Misty Spirit Mrs E Dixon Donald Lee 7-11-06 Steve Smith Eccles 9/1
1988* Twin Oaks John Moreton David Murray-Smith 8-11-06 Paul Croucher 6/1
1989 Deep Moment Mrs M Curtis Mercy Rimell 7-11-03 Dermot Browne 12/1
1990 Toby Tobias Elizabeth Hitchins Jenny Pitman 8-11-06 Mark Pitman 5/4
1991 Celtic Shot D E H Horton Charlie Brooks 9-11-12 Peter Scudamore 8/11f
1993 Sibton Abbey Geoff Hubbard Ferdy Murphy 8-11-12 Steve Smith Eccles 16/1
1994 Dubacilla Veronica Cole Henry Cole 8-10-12 Dean Gallagher 8/1
1995 Master Oats Paul Matthews Kim Bailey 9-11-06 Norman Williamson 6/4f
1997 One Man John Hales Gordon Richards 9-11-12 Richard Dunwoody 2/5f
1998 See More Business John Keighley/Paul Barber Paul Nicholls 8-11-06 Timmy Murphy 9/4f
1999 Cyfor Malta David Johnson Martin Pipe 6-11-06 A P McCoy 10/11f
2000 Looks Like Trouble Tim Collins Noel Chance 8-11-06 Norman Williamson 100/30
2001 See More Business Paul Barber/Robert Ogden Paul Nicholls 11-11-10 Mick Fitzgerald 9/4
2002 Rince Ri Frank Moriarty Ted Walsh IRE 9-11-10 Ruby Walsh 9/2
2003 Behrajan The Behrajan Partnership Henry Daly 8-11-06 Richard Johnson 9/2
2004 Jair Du Cochet Miriam Montauban Guillaume Macaire FR 7-11-10 Jacques Ricou 11/4
2005 Grey Abbey The Roper Family/Norman Furness Howard Johnson 11-11-10 Graham Lee 100/30
2006** See You Sometime J Meaden Seamus Mullins 11-11-05 Andrew Thornton 18/1
2007 Exotic Dancer Sir Robert Ogden Jonjo O’Neill 7-11-06 A P McCoy 6/1
2008 Knowhere Raymond Mould Nigel Twiston-Davies 10-11-04 Paddy Brennan 16/1
2009 Joe Lively Richard Dimond Colin Tizzard 10-11-06 Joe Tizzard 11/1
2010 Taranis Angela Yeoman Paul Nicholls 9-11-00 Nick Scholfield 16/1
2011 Neptune Collonges John Hales Paul Nicholls 10-11-00 A P McCoy 11/2
2012 Midnight Chase Lady Clarke Neil Mulholland 10-11-06 Dougie Costello 11/2
2013 Cape Tribulation David Abell Malcolm Jefferson 9-11-06 Denis O’Regan 7/1
2014 The Giant Bolster Simon Hunt & Gary Lambton David Bridgwater 9-11-00 Tom Scudamore 6/1
2015 Many Clouds Trevor Hemmings Oliver Sherwood 8-11-10 Leighton Aspell 4/1
2016 Smad Place Trish Andrews Alan King 9-11-06 Richard Johnson 9/2
2017 Many Clouds Trevor Hemmings Oliver Sherwood 10-11-10 Leighton Aspell 8/1
2018 Definitly Red Phil & Julie Martin Brian Ellison 9-11-06 Danny Cook 7/1
2019 Frodon Paul Vogt Paul Nicholls 7-11-06 Bryony Frost 9/4
2020 Santini Mr & Mrs R Kelvin-Hughes Nicky Henderson 8-11-04 Nico de Boinville 13/8
2021 Native River 11 11-06 Brocade Racing Colin Tizzard Richard Johnson 13/2
2022 Chantry House 8 11-6 John P McManus Nicky Henderson Nico de Boinville 5/6F
2023 Ahoy Senor 8 11-7 Mrs C Wymer & Pjs Russell Lucinda Russell Derek Fox 13/2
* Cavvies Clown was first past the post in 1988, but subsequently failed a dope test ** Staged at Wincanton