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About: Paul Nicholls Racing

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Monday 25th October

We experienced a roller coaster ride at Wincanton on Sunday but the day started perfectly with Sarah West on Celestial Force beating Hannah Roche on Wise Glory by a nose in the charity race that opened proceedings.

Top marks to both of them who are brilliantly efficient at running our office through the week and both raised approximately £2,500 for Racing Welfare.
Sarah and Hannah had been working hard on their fitness in recent weeks and I couldn’t be prouder of them.
Mon Frere also scored at Wincanton while I loved the way Gelino Bello put his seal on the race at Aintree on his first start over hurdles in a competitive maiden over two and a half miles. He was never stronger than at the finish and was given a top ride by Harry Cobden.
Earlier in the week at Exeter Mick Pastor again impressed over fences and could run next in the two mile novice Chase at Cheltenham’s November meeting if the ground doesn’t turn soft by then.
On Wednesday I was thrilled to win both divisions of the bumper at Worcester with promising youngsters owned by Andy Stewart’s family.
I spoke to Andy every day for the last twenty years and miss him badly. I know he was up there watching with a smile on his face as Onethreefivenotout and then Hugos New Horse both won. He left a great legacy which is being carried on by his sons and they have some lovely horses that will continue to run in the family’s name.
Had he still been alive on Wednesday I’ve no doubt he would have sent me his usual text predicting that his winners would be winning the Cheltenham bumper or even the Gold Cup. As well as being a wonderful friend, owner and supporter he was never short of ambition.
We are going to be busy this week starting at Chepstow on Tuesday where I run some promising novices including Stage Star and Mr Glass.
On Saturday Frodon is off to Down Royal for the Grade 1 Ladbrokes Champion Chase. He caused quite a stir when I took him to work at Lambourn recently as a change of routine. Some wag posted a photo of our horsebox in the village under the heading Aliens in Lambourn.
We also run a strong team at Wetherby on Saturday including Cyrname in the Charlie Hall Chase, Master Tommytucker in the Grade 2 three mile hurdle and Miranda in the Listed Mares’ Hurdle. In addition we will be well represented at Ascot the same day. I need seven winners by end of the month to get my target of 50 by Nov 1.
For all the latest news on my Saturday runners please turn to my Betfair column which goes live late on Friday afternoon.

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Monday 18th October

I was thrilled to see Pic D’Orhy bounce back to form at Ffos Las on Saturday after a frustrating first campaign as a chaser last winter.

I was looking forward to seeing him back over fences because we have done a lot of work on his jumping this autumn. All that schooling certainly paid off in the novice handicap named after the big priced Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Norton’s Coin who was trained in West Wales.
Pic D’Orhy, who carried top weight, was suited by the flat nature of the track and won tidily which will have done his confidence the world of good. He’s a smart horse, is a bit stronger this season and his breathing is fine after a wind op last December. Hopefully he can progress and fulfil his potential because everything about his physique has always suggested he would make a natural chaser.
On the same card Diego Du Charmil just needed the outing in the Welsh Champion Hurdle and is likely to return to fences next time at Ascot. Red Risk also ran very well at Market Rasen on his first start since surgery for an entrapped epiglottis.
With rain forecast this week we should be a bit busier next weekend with some interesting entries at Cheltenham’s two day meeting and also at Wincanton and Aintree on Sunday where Tamaroc Du Mathan could run in the Old Roan Chase.
Plans will very much depend on the ground after the recent dry spell. So for the latest news on all my weekend runners please be sure to check out my Betfair column which goes live late Friday and Saturday afternoon.

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Monday 11th October

It was so good to see the crowds back at Chepstow and Newton Abbot, the atmosphere was fantastic and it was great to see everyone enjoying themselves.

A breathtaking round of jumping by Bravemansgame in victory at Newton Abbot on Sunday was the highlight of a busy few days for Team Ditcheat. He has been mustard in schooling sessions at home, a natural, and was a joy to watch sailing along in front in the valuable Grade 2 Intermediate Chase.
It helped, of course, on his first attempt over fences that he was getting all allowances from his two main rivals. But he was well in charge in the closing stages and won stylishly by five and a half lengths from Fusil Raffles.
It was a fantastic performance from a top class horse . He was far from wound up because the idea of running him on Sunday was to give him experience before he goes for the Rising Stars Chase at Wincanton next month.
I will be minding Bravemansgame this season and am far from convinced that he needs to be going three miles at this stage of his career.
A striking success by Skatman in the EBF Novice Hurdle qualifier gave us a double on the day at Newton Abbot but with a bit of luck we might have had three or four winners on the card. Seelotmorebusiness was in with every chance when he came down two out while Blackjack Kennedy and Lallylag were not beaten far in their races.
Quite a few of the horses that we have run in the last week have been just needing their races and will improve tons for their runs, which isn’t a total surprise as they came back into training two weeks later this summer compared to last year when the season ended abruptly in March because off COVID.
So I am expecting improvement from a number of those that ran at Chepstow’s two day meeting which was held a little later last year.
Knappers Hill set the ball rolling for us at Chepstow by winning the opening novice hurdle on Friday. While he needs experience and was both keen and green he buckled down well when challenged and will benefit from the outing. He is still a bit of a baby and needs to sharpen up his jumping.
Threeunderthrufive did well on his debut over fences in finishing second in the novice Chase sponsored by Tom Malone and is another I expect to come on for the run.
On Saturday I was thrilled with Magistrato’s winning debut for us in the Juvenile Hurdle. On the second start of his life he was very professional and quickly put his seal on the race. Given that he is still a big baby there is plenty more to come from him
Timeforatune then completed a double for the yard at Chepstow by defying a 7lbs penalty with a hard earned triumph in the bumper. He showed great determination late on under a fine ride by Harry Cobden.
Earlier on the card Fidelio Vallis was superb in defeat in the Listed Novice Chase. He led all the way, jumping fluently, before just losing out to Tea Clipper on the run-in. As he has plenty of speed and is progressive I am thinking of bringing him back to two miles next time, most likely at Cheltenham.
I was surprised to see our new recruit Dargiannini start favourite for the highly competitive Grade 3 Silver Hurdle in which he was pulled up by Gavin Sheehan after a bad mistake three from home. While I was hoping for much better from Dargiannini he did lack experience against seasoned handicappers and had only won two minor novice hurdles at Sedgefield. I am still learning about him and am now toying with the idea of switching him to fences.
Overall I am more than happy with the way the horses have been running with so much to look forward to over the months ahead. With a dry forecast for the next week or so we may be a little quite this weekend though Diego Du Charmil could turn out in the Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las on Saturday. I will also be making a few entries at Stratford the same day.
For all the up to date news on my Saturday runners please be sure to turn to my Betfair column which goes live on Friday.

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