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The seven-year-old will be looking for a stronger performance in his first outing of the new campaign – expected to come at the Ladbrokes Trophy Chase at Newbury Racecourse. This may well serve as an indicator for any success at the Gold Cup, for which he is backed at odds of 10/1 by SpaceCasino to triumph.
Santini is a talented horse, as proven by his form in the seven races of his career. The seven-year-old has won four of his events, including the opening two meets of his career. He triumphed at the Ladbrokes’ Novices Hurdle at Newbury before earning his first victory at Cheltenham in the Ballymore Classic Novices' Hurdle. He won both events by comfortable distances, proving his pedigree ahead of his first appearance at Cheltenham Festival in March.
The Irish thoroughbred was the leading contender for the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle, but failed to rise to the occasion as he was beaten by the pace of Kilbricken Storm, placing in third behind his stable-mate Ok Corral. However, Santini bounced back to end the campaign with a fine outing at the Doom Bar Sefton Novices' Hurdle, powering down the stretch to win by one-and-a-half lengths.
On his return to action for the 2018/19 season, Henderson’s charge appeared at the Ladbrokes John Francome Novices' Chase. With Nico de Boinville in the saddle, he was dominant on the track when it mattered the most. Santini recovered from an early mistake to find his rhythm before surging ahead of the rest of the field. The then-six-year-old claimed the win by four lengths ahead of Rockey’s Treasure, finishing comfortably in front of his old rival Kilbricken Storm down in sixth.
He had momentum to take into the 32Red Kauto Star Novices' Chase at Kempton Park. Santini faced tough competition from the field, although he was considered the leading contender for the contest. However, Le Bague Au Roi proved too much for Henderson’s charge in the meet, relegating Santini to third place behind Topofthegame.
His second appearance at Cheltenham Festival ended in disappointment, losing to Topofthegame by half a length. It was not a crushing loss, but it was another defeat all the same, although he did place ahead of the favourite Delta Work. Santini has to overcome his issues away from Newbury to become a truly elite competitor. He has impressed in the early stages of his career, but to become a constant winner on the track, the seven-year-old has to start putting in quality performances on the big stage.
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