Trainer Paul Nicholls has had a great start to the jumps season and has several chances to win races at Cheltenham, today Saturday.
Here are his thoughts on just three of his big runners today.
Of Far West in the 1.45 race he says:- You don’t need me to tell you that this looks a hot race but he looks to be one of our better early-season juveniles, so I have to be hopeful. We liked what we saw of him at home before his debut. But you never really know what to expect with these French acquisitions until you get them on the track, so I was very impressed, and perhaps a little surprised, by the manner of his 12 length win. And the fact that the runner-up came out and beat a fair sort of mine next time up is obviously very encouraging as well. He looks to have come on a lot, in all respects, in the last month since that opening effort and I think it will take a good one to beat him here.
Of Sire Collonges in the 1.20 he says:- We have every reason to believe that we have a very smart staying novice after that win, as that was a decent level of form and he has all the attributes you look for in a Sun Alliance horse. Not only does he stay and find, but he also travels and has speed, too. Anyway, let’s hope that he can confirm the form with the 2-length runner-up Sea Of Thunder on 3lb worse terms for starters, and then we can start worrying about the rest of the opposition. But this horse looks to have put his problems behind him and is undoubtedly exciting. Has come on a lot for the Cheltenham run, too.
A grey day for Paul Nicholls?
Of Al Ferof in the 2.35, the big race of the day, he says:- His form rather fell apart towards the end of last season, but a mistake put paid to his chance in the Arkle and he just didn’t fire at Aintree. He is best when fresh, though, and I think he can be competitive off a mark of 159 here, having schooled really well of late and satisfied me in a racecourse gallop last Sunday. Winner of the Supreme last year, he took really well to fences in the first half of last season and the form of his neck defeat of For Non Stop in the Henry VIII looks pretty smart form now. But it is probably his five length third to Somersby and Finian’s Rainbow at Ascot in January that makes him of interest here on the formbook. Hopefully, as a 6yo, he will have progressed too for a summer’s break and track, trip and ground won’t be any issue. Has to be running well here off this mark if he is as good as we think he is. And his work on Thursday morning was the best that I have seen him do here. But, being honest, in an ideal world I would have preferred this race to be in two or three weeks time. He had a setback in the summer which meant he only started cantering in September – the others started in mid-July – but hopefully he can overcome that.
So there are some words from the champion jumps trainer. Saturday looks like being a spectacular day of racing. If you want my own thoughts and tips, become a member here for only £10 a month and see all of today’s racing and football selections.