The jury appeared out on the Nicky Henderson trained Santini in the wake of his success at Sandown racecourse on his seasonal debut last November.
He just about got the job done but didn’t have much in-hand at the line. He is unquestionably is not a flamboyant horse but continuously he finds that bit more under-pressure to fend off his opponents when looking not likely – slow but surely is a perfect way to summarize him.
At Cheltenham on Saturday, this proficient son of Milan was declared for the Cotswold Chase (Grade two) – run over the extended distance of 3miles and one furlong; which he won by three length, throughout he jumped impeccably though one negative is that he can race lazily at times, he is visibly a brute of a horse, and has his own mind about everything. I wouldn’t be surprised if next time out he wears headgear to keep him more focused on the task at hand.
Santini seems suited by the new course contrasted to the old course which he finished third over in the RSA Chase last year and the additional yardage in the Gold Cup will assist him further if that is the route Henderson targets.
Is he a legitimate Cheltenham Gold Cup contender? His retained jockey Nico de Boinville has considered Santini to have “all the right credentials” for the big race; so, who are we I to say he isn’t a contender for the home team of Britain?
Trainer Nicky Henderson spoke after his win on Saturday claiming; “The better the ground, the better he will be. There is an awful lot of improvement still to come”.
Statements like that from a trainer who knows the time of the day should really be noted. Everybody has their own estimation on Santini, in my opinion I believe he wins the Gold Cup this year at Cheltenham; he is a quirky sort alright, but sure many of Gold Cup winners had the same sort of traits; There are worst 8/1 shots running at the Festival.