The Nicky Henderson trained Santini has been supplemented for the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day at Kempton with the Seven Barrows handler believing his chasing star is in fine form at home.
Last season the eight year old made a winning start on his seasonal debut at Kempton but did leave room for improvement, he was much better next time out after undergoing a wind op which saw him race on trials day in the Cotswolds Chase and he put in a mighty performance to beat Bristol De Mai over what was nearly the Gold Cup trip.
He then headed to the festival for the Cheltenham Gold Cup and although rallying in the final stages, had to settle for a narrow second behind dual winner Al Boum Photo.
The staying star for the yard made a satisfactory return to racing this season when having a good racecourse gallop at Newbury and then headed to Aintree for the Many Clouds Chase and finished a narrow second to Lake View Lad.
Although not winning the race he showed his staying ability in tricky conditions and with many fences being bypassed due to the low sun on the day it did not play to his strengths.
The plan after that race was to get him ready at home for the Cotswald Chase which he landed last term at Cheltenham, but connections and trainer have now decided that they will run him again in between that event and have supplemented him for the King George.
Henderson felt it was worth stumping up £5,000 to add him to the Kempton feature race because the son of Milan is in fine form at home, having come out of the Aintree race in good health.
(Credit ATR) Henderson said: “When you are in lockdown Tier 4, you haven’t got a lot to do on a Sunday afternoon (and) I had a bright idea about what to do with Santini.
“The Cotswold Chase is still five or six weeks away, so we supplemented him this morning for the King George party.
“We discussed it last night. We’ve been through everything this morning, and he’s so well in himself and passed all his medical checks.
“We didn’t put him in originally because I’m the first to admit we don’t think Kempton will be his ideal track – but he’s very well in himself, and there’s nothing else to do.
“He may as well gallop round Kempton rather than gallop around here for five weeks.”