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Press Release 24th January 2024 Cheltenham

By Graham Clark

Jamie Snowden is under no illusions that Datsalrightgino will have to step forward again if he is to win the Paddy Power Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham on Festival Trials Day (Saturday 27th January). However, he believes the progressive gelding has the right profile to make his mark in the valuable Grade Two contest,


After opening his account for the campaign in the Coral Gold Cup Handicap Chase at Newbury last month the improving eight-year-old will face his toughest test to date over fences when lining up in the extended three miles and one furlong contest. 


And although the son of It’s Gino is the only one of the six entries that hasn’t got a Grade One win to his name over either fences or hurdles, the Lambourn handler is confident that the second season chaser will not look out of place in the £125,000 prize for which he is a 7-2 chance with the sponsor.


Snowden said: “He has always been a big scopey individual, and he improved a lot for going over a fence last season culminating in winning a Grade Two at Ayr at the end of the campaign. 


“On the back of winning at Ayr we were always going to try and have a prep run in the Old Roan at Aintree with a view to having a go at the Coral Gold Cup.  


“We thought we would try going up in trip in a big race like the Coral Gold Cup and thankfully it all paid off. 


“This was a race that I earmarked after the Coral Gold Cup. The King George (VI Chase at Kempton Park) was just a step to far and it was less than a month after the Coral Gold Cup so the next options, without going to Ireland, were the Cotswold Chase or the Denman Chase at Newbury. 


“We thought we would try and get him ready for this and looking at the forecast we should be okay for Saturday ground wise. 


“He has got to step forward again coming out of handicap company. He won the Coral Gold Cup off 148 so this is a different kettle of fish.


“They have all got a high level of open company chase form, apart from Stay Away Fay, but he won the Albert Bartlett over hurdles last season at The Festival. 


“He is only eight and you would like to think he has got a progressive profile. Looking at the entries there should be plenty of pace on as a few of them like to go forward and that will suit him. 


“He has always been a good work horse at home, and he seems in good form so we are looking forward to it.”


It will be the fifth time that Datsalrightgino has appeared at Cheltenham having had two starts over both fences and hurdles around the iconic venue. 


And although the GD Partnership-owned gelding pulled up on his most recent outing around the Home of Jump Racing when sent off favourite for the Plate Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last year Snowden is confident of his ability to perform at the track. 


Snowden added: “I wouldn’t be worried about the fact that he pulled up on his last start at Cheltenham as it all went against him that day. 


“The rain came and it went quite soft. Then there was a false start and he then got behind a wall of horses. 


“Everything worked out for him in the Coral Gold Cup, but nothing worked for him in the Plate at the Festival. As it transpired Gavin (Sheehan) looked after him and pulled him up which meant he was a fresh horse going to Ayr. 


“He ran well over fences there last season behind Stage Star, while he also beat JPR One over hurdles there as well so I’m not worried about him being able to act around Cheltenham.”


Looking beyond this weekend Snowden feels it will be how Datsalrightgino performs opposed to where he finishes as to whether he then tailors the rest of his season around an outing at the Festival in the Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup or a potential tilt at the Randox Grand National at Aintree. 


He added: “Off a mark of 159 it does make life tough in handicaps. If we are not up to Gold Cup class then we will probably have to look at decent handicaps which could include in the Grand National.  


“I think it is hard to say if we finish in a particular position we will then go for the Gold Cup. I think we have to see how the race pans out and how he runs. 


“I don’t think it is necessarily finishing position order that would determine if he goes back for the Gold Cup, but more so how he takes to the race and how he competes in that calibre of company.”


One big advantage Snowden believes Datsalrightgino will have in his favour is the assistance of jockey Gavin Sheehan in the saddle, who is enjoying arguably the best season of his career. 


He added: “Gavin knows the horse well and I think it is important when you build up a relationship with a horse.  


“There are plenty of good jockeys out there but Gavin has been brilliant for us. The form of our horses has gone to a different level over the last four or five seasons and it has been great having Gavin on the back of them. 


“You always hear football coaches and rugby coaches talking about momentum and it is just the same in racing. 


“If you have momentum behind you then you have the confidence in your veins and Gavin is riding brilliantly so it has got to help for sure.”


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