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New homes for Cotswold and Cleeve but Paisley Park won't go to Wetherby

  • After Cheltenham was canceled this weekend, two key Trials Day races will now be run on Saturday
  • The Cotswold Chase will be run at Sandown
  • The Cleeve Hurdle will take place for the first time at Wetherby
  • Paisley Park will not be making the trip to Wetherby to defend his Cleeve Hurdle crown
sandown chase
Sandown will stage the rescheduled Cotswold Chase this weekend. (Getty)

The Cotswold Chase and Cleeve Hurdle will take place this weekend, after Cheltenham Trials Day was abandoned on Saturday.

The Cleeve Hurdle will be smuggled into Wetherby's card on Saturday. The Cotswold Chase will take place at Sandown, which could be transformed into an all-chase card, as there's currently standing water in places on the hurdles track.

While the BHA has done well to fit these huge races back into the ITV Racing schedule, can they still be considered key trials for the Cheltenham Festival?

Emma Lavelle clearly thinks not, as she's already announced that Paisley Park - who was odds-on to win the Cleeve at Cheltenham - will not be making the journey to Wetherby this weekend.

"We won't take him to Wetherby," Lavelle told the Racing Post. "I don't want to go all the way up there and run on what can be bottomless ground. We won't go, it's not a starter for us.

"We had a chat about whether to enter him this morning with Andrew, Barry and Aidan and it was a very easy decision to make. 

"I'd say the Rendlesham will come too late and based on Wetherby being the place [for the Cleeve] I think we'll just have a racecourse gallop before Cheltenham. We'll go and do that instead."

santini cheltenham
Santini (right) and Bristol De Mai (left) were due to lock horns again in the Cleeve Hurdle. (Getty)

As for the Cotswold Chase, which many see as a strong trial for the Gold Cup, that too could attract a depleted field. 

Sandown isn't the sort of track that would particularly suit Native River or Lake View Lad. Bristol De Mai may have won the Scilly Isles here in 2016, but he's only won two of his six starts going right-handed.

Harry Whittington is keen to test Saint Calvados' stamina ahead of a prospective tilt at the Gold Cup, so he could line up at Sandown. Yet, he jumped markedly out to his left throughout the King George, and he was beaten 19-lengths on his only previous start around this track in the 2018 Tingle Creek.

Nicky Henderson has already stated Santini will run at Sandown, but given how unimpressive he was when seeing off Now McGinty on his reappearance last year, punters may be keen to take the likely favourite on. 

While it will be wonderful to watch both of these races next weekend, their bearing on the Cheltenham Festival could be fairly minimal.

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