Coole Cody sights set on further Cheltenham glory
The Evan Williams-trained 10-year-old landed the prestigious Paddy Power Gold Cup in November and has subsequently run three sound races in defeat – most recently finishing a close-up fourth in the Paddy Power Plate at last month’s Festival.
Williams, who won the Silver Trophy with Buywise in 2014, said: “He’s run well all year and I thought it was a very solid effort last time.
“The form of that race looks good – I thought the winner (The Shunter) ran a very good race in the Grade One novice chase at Aintree the other day to finish second, so we’ll give it a shot.
“Buywise was a great old horse for us, but to be fair to Coole Cody, he’s won a Paddy Power Gold Cup, which is one of the the major handicap chases of the year. I think Coole Cody has a little more strength in depth to him, to be fair.
“He goes back to Cheltenham with a good chance. He’ll handle any ground and is a good, tough, genuine horse on his day.”
Coole Cody’s eight rivals include Henry Oliver’s stable star The Big Bite.
Formerly trained by Tom George, the eight-year-old made a winning debut for his new trainer at Aintree in November and has since finished second at Doncaster and third in the Greatwood Gold Cup at Newbury.
“He’s in good order and the ground will be fine for him and the trip is fine for him,” said Oliver.
“Most of his form has been on flat, galloping tracks. He has won around Chepstow, which is an undulating track.
“He’s run three solid races for us and likes a bit of time between his races. We’ve minded him a little bit and he’s in good nick.
“I’m very happy with the horse and he’s going there with every chance.”
Dan and Harry Skelton team up with Romain De Senam, while Gary Moore’s Benatar appears feasibly weighted on the pick of his form.
Magic Saint (Paul Nicholls), Pym (Nicky Henderson), Up The Straight (Richard Rowe), Two Taffs (Nigel Twiston-Davies) and Manofthemountain (Emma Lavelle) complete the Grade Two field.