Fresh from its return to sponsorship at the Home of Jump Racing on New Year’s Day, leading Irish bookmaker Paddy Power will extend its support to two contests on Festival Trials Day, Saturday, 25 January, headed by the feature £100,000 G2 Paddy Power Cotswold Chase.
Staged over three miles and a furlong, the Paddy Power Cotswold Chase is a leading trial for the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup at The Festival™ presented by Magners in March.
Since its introduction in 1980, the Paddy Power Cotswold Chase has been won by four subsequent Cheltenham Gold Cup winners - Little Owl, Master Oats, See More Business and Look Like Trouble. One of the most remarkable renewals came in 1986 when Dawn Run lined up. Starting the 4/9 favourite, the great mare looked to be well in command when unseating her rider Tony Mullins at the 16th fence. She was remounted to finish fourth behind Misty Spirit. Famously, she returned to Cheltenham in March to land chasing’s championship event, becoming the only horse to win both the Champion Hurdle and the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Last year’s renewal went to Frodon, who handed a record fifth success in the race to trainer Paul Nicholls. Frodon went on to become the first Paddy Power Cotswold Chase hero to subsequently win the G1 Ryanair Chase at The Festival when scoring a memorable victory under regular pilot Bryony Frost.
One horse on course for the Paddy Power Cotswold Chase in 2020 is Top Ville Ben, who posted his biggest success to date last time out when landing the G3 Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase at Wetherby on Boxing Day. The eight-year-old holds an entry in the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Kirby, who is based in North Yorkshire, said: “Top Ville Ben is in good form and the Cotswold Chase is a possibility.
“He will either head to the Cotswold or the Denman Chase and that will tell us more about his Gold Cup claims.
“We entered him in the Gold Cup and he deserved an entry so we will see how that race is shaping up along with how he runs at either Cheltenham or Newbury.
“He has enjoyed a great season and it was great to see him win the Rowland Meyrick.
“It’s very exciting to have a horse like him and hopefully there is plenty more to come from him.”
The second contest sponsored by Paddy Power on Festival Trials Day is the £70,000 G3 Paddy Power 45 Sleeps to Cheltenham Trophy Handicap Chase. Always a competitive affair, the extended two and a half mile handicap boasts an impressive roll of honour.
Last year’s renewal went to the Nick Williams-trained Siruh Du Lac, who went on to land the G3 Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase over the same distance at The Festival. Frodon was the winner in 2018, while 2012 winner The Giant Bolster went on the finish runner-up in the Cheltenham Gold Cup later that season.
Paul Mallon, Paddy Power’s head of brand marketing for horse racing and Ireland, said: “We are delighted to increase our portfolio of races at Cheltenham, the Home of Jump Racing.
“We want to be at the heart of the action, and Festival Trials Day is a brilliant, buzzy place to be as we reinvest in Jump Racing. Roll on The Festival.”
Carey Weeks, Head of Partnerships for The Jockey Club South West, added: “It was great to welcome Paddy Power back to Cheltenham on New Year’s Day and we are delighted that Paddy Power will also be sponsoring two races on Festival Trials Day, including the feature Cotswold Chase.
“Festival Trials Day is the final action at the Home of Jump Racing before The Festival and is always very popular with lots of talking points, providing a perfect opportunity for race sponsorship.”