Santini king of the Cotswold
Santini got the better of an exciting duel at Cheltenham.
The two looked the class acts to its Gold Cup trial on paper and they also pulled out a long way clear of others, lead by handicappers Top Ville Ben and De Rasher Counter.
For the majority of the race Bristol De Mai looked the happier of the two, jumping out exuberantly ahead for Daryl Jacob.
From a exit Nico de Boinville was niggling on Santini, however Santini was abandoned in front if Bristol De Mai stumbled on landing on the .
However, a jump at the penultimate barrier from Santini let Bristol De Mai to retake the lead after jumping the past, looking sure to win at the path for the very first time.
Nicky Henderson’s lightly-raced eight-year-old dug although, together with Santini finding a lot to come home.
Betfair clip on the winner to 13-2 from 8-1 for the Gold Cup.
Henderson explained:”It’s one step forward but there’s quite a ways to go. It was 200 per cent better (compared to Sandown) but to be fair we didn’t cauterize him after that, but I do not believe had a lot to do with this – ours were just a bit fat.
“He could be a bit like this but this horse completely lives and thrives in your work. The more you can enter him the better he or she becomes. He’s ever been the same.
“If you can not train him he goes exactly the same way again. You have got to fire work at him. The longer you perform the better he has. There is more to come.
“If you think about the race that he ran from the RSA last year you need to say he enjoys the trail. I don’t say he cried Sandown, that he had been cluttered in Sandown. He was not wound up and that I had not done a whole lot.
“The last three months he has been doing that the entire way and that I genuinely think he could do this again.”