Tag Archives: Paul Nicholls

Saturday Selections: January, 18th 2020

Ascot Grand Stand, by Florian Christoph

12.30 Lingfield: Class 6 Handicap, 1m 4f

Presence Process makes a lot of appeal dropping further and further in his mark, now below 50. His latest effort over course and distance was positive, given there looked a spark there for first time headgear.

He probably got a little bit too much locked up in an early battle for the lead, subsequently was pulled back and then didn’t quite have the kick in the home straight, nonetheless finished well enough to see him winning again.

He loves this CD, has ran multiple times to higher speed ratings than his now lowly 49 rating and must have a prime chance in a poor contest.

The key will be the early parts of the race, though: drawn in 9 is a negative.

Selection:
10pts win – Presence Process @ 8/1 MB

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2.25 Ascot: Grade 3 Handicap Hurdle, 2m3½f

It’s probably not the best of signs that he is on the drift with the high street, but I remain quietly hopeful at the very least that Pic D’orhy is a good deal better than his 146 rating and will show it today.

Connections have always said he’s a chaser in the making. Nonetheless, he showed plenty of promise in France over hurdles, in deep ground and I feel the trip and conditions today will suit him.

Granted it is a competitive field. 2m3½f fell the last time at Autil in Grade 1 company a long way from the finish. He made his Nicholls debut at Cheltenham in the Triumph Hurdle where he travelled strongly until a blunder at the second last that ended his chances.

He’s still a young horse, will little millage on the clock and more to come. If he’s a class horse for the future he will need to show something good today against this opposition. At given prices I am inclined to be on his side.

Selection:
10pts win – Pic D’orhy @ 13/2 MB

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4.25 Meydan: Handicap, 7 furlongs

One that caught my eye two weeks ago here at Meydan in a competitive mile handicap was Moqarrar. He started well but was soon pulled back and before hitting the turn switched to the widest outside of the field travelling five deep.

As a consequence Moqarrar lost a lot of ground and had to do more than others in order to stay in touch burning vital energy. The gelding fought on gamely though hitting top gear entering the home straight and looked in with a good shout for the placings but faded eventually.

That was a strong performance taking circumstances into considerations. He can race of 2lb lower today, although drops to 7 furlongs, which may not be a big deal as he won over this trip as a juvenile in the UK.

I imagine he’ll jump out of the gate to be much closer to the pace today in hands of Jim Crowley and if getting a clear run should have a strong chance to outrun his price at the very least.

Selection:
10pts win – Moqarrar @ 11/1 WH

Saturday Selections: January, 11th 2019

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12.15 Lingfield: Class 6 Handicap, 1 mile

Agent Of Fortune looks to have a solid chance following up with another victory here, however he’s close to his very best rated and has to deal with a wider than ideal draw.

My ideal of a value chance is Subliminal. He comes with clear risks attached given he’s not the easiest to win. Connections try new headgear – remains to be seen whether that has any positive impact.

On the positive side: there is in my mind clear evidence that Subliminal is better than his current 57 handicap mark if he puts it all together. His last three starts all at Lingfield are perfect illustrations for this. He’s been running into trouble multiple times, not helping himself when usually leaving the stalls a tick slowly.

I feel a fair case can be made that when 3rd in November over this course and distance that he came with a winning run down the stretch if not for being a clear run denied on the inside rail. His latest 10/10 finish behind Agent Of Fortune can be upgraded also due to the fact of the suicidal pace Subliminal set and still got as far as he did actually.

A smaller field, a decent draw and no other horse in this field seemingly well handicapped, this is the chance for Subliminal to shine. He’s ran to 60 and 62 topspeeds in 2019 on the All-Weather, so clearly any visual evidence is backed up by the numbers that he is a better horse than what his win record portrays.

Selection:
10pts win – Subliminal @ 7/1 MB

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1.30 Kempton: Class 3 Handicap Chase, 2m4½f

Dipping my toe into unusual territory at this time of the year. But I feel Paul Nicholls’ Sao is supremely well handicapped and should be hard to beat here – if the handbrake is off.

This lightly raced 6-year-old hasn’t won in Britain yet, although showed promise a few times already and looks ready for an interesting campaign. Evidence of his latest run prove a couple of things: Sao wintered well and doesn’t appear to have any breathing issues.

That last race here at Kempton over 2.5f shorter back in November was his first after a summer break and he travelled and jumped well throughout. However he also was hampered by fallers and lose horses twice in the middle of the race, seeing him trailing the field.

Sao made up nice ground and after a pretty light ride by Harry Cobden finished strongly and seemingly with plenty in the tank after jumping the last.

A 123 handicap mark appears certainly low given potential improvement rather likely to come from this half-brother of Frodon. The additional furlongs are unlikely to bother Sao, however he appeared plenty keen the last time over shorter. So there is a light risk as well as the ground which may not quite be soft enough.

Nonetheless Sao appears an outstanding chance in this field in my book if he puts everything together and gets a clear run.

Selection:
10pts win – Sao @ 9/2 MB

PP Gold Cup: Art Mauresque worth the gamble

Cheltenham Festival

1.50 Cheltenham: Handicap Chase (Grade 3), 3m 3F 71Y

Some interesting horses in this race but I feel it’s worth a punt to go with still unexposed Knockanrawley. A seven year old who has done pretty well as a fresh horse in the past, he could be on a lenient mark. He won off 6lb lower a big Handicap Chase at Newbury last December and he’s one who won’t have an issue staying the trip today, although 4m 1f seemed a bit too far after all on his final start last season, albeit he was far from disgraced in 4th in the Eider Handicap Chase.

This trip today looks ideal and the arriving rain shouldn’t be an inconvenience. In fact he is two from three in good to soft. It’ll be only his seventh start over fences and the testing Cheltenham course should work in his favour – for a red hot yard and jockey I feel he is a big price.

Knockanrawley @ 14/1 Paddy Power – 5ps Win 

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2.25 Cheltenham: Paddy Power Gold Cup (Grade 3), 2m 4f

Is this the one for Art Mauresque to lose? I feel so. well, it depends on how much more rain we get, but if it stays as it is now, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem for this rapidly improving Paul Nicholls inmate.

He was good on his debut run but improved big time here at Cheltenham last month when he landed a decent Novice Chase. Yes, Parlour Games was disappointing that day, but the runner-up has franked the form yesterday, to an extend at least. I was mightily impressed with Art Mauresque though, how easily he closed the gap to the leader and how he stormed up the hill.

Of a mark off 147 he is potentially well in here, given the five year old has had only six starts over fences yet, and took each test in his own stride. There is almost certainly more to come.

Says this is obviously an enormously competitive race and a bit of luck is sometimes required. Irish Cavalier, Buywise and Johns Spirit are others I fancy to do well here today, and you could name plenty more that have a fair shot to land the prize.

But at 14/1, despite the uneasy ground, I’m more than prepared to take a gamble on this exciting Art Mauresque, who in my book is overpriced.

Art Mauresque @ 14/1 Paddy Power – 5pts Win 

Cheltenham Preview: Triumph Hurdle Trial

Cheltenham Festival

12.40 Cheltenham: Triumph Hurdle Trial (Grade 2), 2m

Realistically there are three standout horses in this line-up. I find it easy to discount Coo Star Sivola and Wolf Of Windlesham, although to distinguish the other three runners isn’t that easy.

However, on the fact that Oceane seems to be a good ground lover I’d be slightly concerned about the rain coming. Leaves us with the two French imports Romain De Senam and Fingertips. Both met in France earlier this year, where the Paul Nicholls recruit got the better of the new David Pipe acquisition. It was a very close race, though, only half a lengths between the pair in the end.

Romain De Senam has since been blowing away some minor opposition on his UK debut and should be fit and ready to go today, with the rain a non-issue. In contrast we don’t know whether this here is any more than a pipe opener for Fingertips. The Pipe yard doesn’t really go strongly at the moment, so that is a real concern.

However on a pure price basis I find it hard to ignore Fingertips. Previous form suggests there is not as much between the the pair as the odds suggest. I would imagine connections want to see what they have got and the horse is ready to. Ground should suit though we have to find out how he handles the track.

Fingertips @ 4/1 Paddy Power – 5pts Win