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About: Paul Nicholls Racing

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Monday 9th December Update

The stylish victory of Enrilo in the Grade 2 Ballymore Winter Novice Hurdle at Sandown on Friday was the high spot of a frustrating weekend for Team Ditcheat when a few of ours ran below expectations.

I’ve always thought a great deal of Enrilo a handsome, lightly raced, really exciting five year old who is going to make a super chaser in a year’s time.
He arrived at Sandown on the back of a below par run at Ludlow where something upset him and he hung badly left handed as if in discomfort perhaps caused by the bit he was wearing.
I was confident that was a one off and he certainly looked good on Friday as he stayed on to beat House Island with some decent youngsters well beaten behind them.
We will mind him this season because he is still inexperienced and I’d say he is unlikely to be going to the Cheltenham Festival in March.

Scaramanga was another pleasing winner at Wincanton on Thursday in the hands of our good claimer Bryan Carver. He has an entry at Cheltenham this weekend but is much more likely to turn out in a valuable handicap at Ascot before Christmas.

On Saturday Grand Sancy and As de Mee both ran with credit but Politologue had an off day after getting a bit wound up after a delay to the start in the Tingle Creek Chase and never really travelled through the race while Dolos needs to go back in handicaps.

Grand Sancy jumped well in the Henry VIII Chase which was probably a tough first challenge for him over fences. He will be fine and could go next for a race at Kempton on December 27.

Malaya was another disappointment at Sandown in the handicap hurdle. I thought she had a first rate chance but she obviously didn’t run to form. Fitness was not an issue and maybe she is one of those fillies who come good in the spring.

At Liverpool As de Mee ran a cracking race back over the National fences in the Becher Chase and was up there jumping like a buck the whole way until running out of stamina in the last quarter mile.

Black Corton faced an impossible task giving weight in the Many Clouds Chase to the former Gold Cup winner Native River. He will probably have one more run before coming back in the spring at Sandown.

This week we will be quite quiet until Thursday at Taunton where we will have plenty of runners. Friday could be another quiet day before the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham on Saturday where Brelan d’As and Secret Investor are both scheduled to start.

Then we will be busy at Ascot the following weekend and will have loads of runners over Christmas including, of course, Cyrname and Clan Des Obeaux in the King George VI Chase at Kempton.

Clan is in really good order and enjoyed an away day at Wincanton last week ridden by Harry Cobden while Cyrname did his first little half speed after an easy fortnight following his fab win at Ascot.

Getaway Trump is also heading to Kempton on Boxing Day for the Christmas Hurdle. Things haven’t quite worked for him over fences so far this season so we are switching him to hurdles. He has the pace for two miles and it will be interesting to see how he gets on.
For the latest news on my runners on Saturday please turn to my Betfair column which goes live at 5pm on Friday.

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Monday 2nd December Update

A brilliant double at the Ladbrokes Festival Newbury on Saturday was the highlight of the week for Team Ditcheat.

Danny Whizzbang was the first to strike in the Grade 2 John Francome Novice Chase before Magic Saint completed a terrific afternoon’s racing with a determined success in the £25,00 two mile Chase. Both horses have benefited from having wind ops over the summer although I must admit that while I’ve always thought a lot of Danny I didn’t think he was forward enough on his seasonal debut to beat two opponents who were race fit. In fact I wouldn’t have been surprised if he had finished last of the trio as he had done himself very well over the summer, had come back into training a bit later than most of mine and I hadn’t rushed him. So it was great to see Danny ease into the lead just after three out before galloping on for a comfortable victory. I’ve no doubt he will improve massively for the run and though he needs more experience he is an exciting long term prospect for Angela Tincknell who owns another smart youngster Eritage who hacked up at Taunton on Thursday.
I will see how Danny comes out of the race before looking for another novice Chase for him over Christmas. Further ahead the Reynoldstown Chase at Ascot looks a tempting option.

Like quite a few of my horses this season Magic Saint had come on a bundle from his first start at Cheltenham where he travelled well before tiring late on as he finished fifth in the BetVictor Chase. That helped put him spot on for dropping back in trip at Newbury where he jumped for fun before coming with a strong late challenge to edge out Bun Doran in a photo finish.

Magic Saint seemed to appreciate running on ground that was almost good given the times of the races. He is coming to himself now, is only five, is brilliant at his fences and could be one like Capeland who keeps on progressing.

Others to run well on the day included Sametegal who put up a fabulous performance to finish second in the Sir Peter O’Sullevan Memorial Chase on his first run for 665 days and Silver Forever who finished third under a penalty in the mares novice hurdle.

Master Tommytucker gave Team Ditcheat the perfect start to the week with a spirited success in a Beginners Chase at Kempton on Monday. A free going horse I’ve always rated, he hurt his knee in a fall at Chepstow in October last year just as he was looking the most likely winner. That injury ruled him out for the rest of the season but he has been going nicely at home in recent weeks and certainly looked the part at Kempton where he jumped soundly, led most of the way and found plenty when headed two out by Who Dares Wins, rated over 151 over hurdles.

A fine jump at the last sealed it for Master Tommytucker who is bound to have learned plenty given his lack of experience. He likes to get on with things, has a bright future and in a number of ways reminds me of Cyrname in his younger days.

We are set for a busy time next weekend with interesting entries at Sandown, Aintree and Chepstow. Politologue is on course for the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown, Malaya runs in the sponsored handicap hurdle and I will have a couple of entries in the Henry V111 Chase including Getaway Trump.

Among those heading to Aintree are As De Mee (Becher Chase) and Touch Kick (Sefton Chase).

For all the latest news on my Saturday runners please be sure to turn to my Betfair column which goes live at 5pm on Friday.

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Monday 25th November Update

The superb victory of Cyrname at Ascot deservedly stole the headlines on the best day of the season so far for Team Ditcheat on Saturday.

With Capeland and Diego Du Charmil dominating the finish of the £125,000 Hurst Park Chase and others running really well we had plenty to celebrate at the Manor House Inn that evening.

After such a big build up I’m so pleased that the clash between Cyrname and Altior in the Christy 1965 Chase lived up to its billing.
I made it clear I couldn’t have been happier with Cyrname going to Ascot and felt that he had strong claims if he ran to his best at a track that clearly suits him so well. Having watched the replay of his brilliant success at Ascot in Grade 1 Chase in February I felt the handicapper was right in raising him to a mark of 178 because those behind him can’t have all underperformed.

I believed in the form and the horse and was thrilled with the way he beat Altior on Saturday with the help of a fine ride by Harry Cobden.
Cyrname is bound to come on for the run and his jumping can be slicker and sharper. Better ground would suit him at Kempton where he will be joined in the King George by last year’s winner Clan Des Obeaux who is very well . Frodon and Black Corton also hold entries in the race but we might well look for alternative options for them.

In the early days Cyrname was a tearaway and pulled so hard that he didn’t give himself a chance of finishing his races and uses to hold his breath and not relax , But I saw something in him and remember saying to his owner Johnny de la Hey that he would be a 150 rated chaser one day though I admit I wasn’t sure how we were going to get there with him!
It took a while for the penny to drop but since last Christmas, when we changed his training routine, he is much more relaxed and trusts us, and has now matured both mentally and physically, with his regular rider Scott Marshall playing a crucial role in his transformation. The exciting thing is that he is only seven so there is every chance he can get even better.

The same applies to Capeland who was so impressive that I might have to start looking for graded races for him in the future once the handicapper has his say. He has done really well physically, is improving fast and is an interesting horse given that he has already won over two and a half miles. I was so pleased for his owner Kathy Stuart that he won in a grand manner on Saturday after his disqualification last time following the bizarre incident at the last fence which was no fault of his own. Compensation was richly deserved.

I thought Frodon ran well in the Betfair Chase at Haydock though we probably got the tactics wrong by deciding to drop him in when he prefers to bowl along in front. It’s fair to say he didn’t look to get the extended trip in Grade 1 company.

This weekend we will be sending a team to Newbury with some lovely novices including Silver Forever in the mares race on saturday , while our recent recruit Yala Enki might go for the Ladbroke Trophy.

For the latest news on all my runners on Saturday please turn to my Betfair column which goes live at 5pm on Friday.

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