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Monday 14th February – Paul Nicholls Racing


The very pleasing success of Bravemansgame under top weight in the opening race at Newbury on Saturday set the tone for a decent day for Team Ditcheat.

While we are not quite in the form we’d like to be after a few quiet weeks the mood is much brighter now that we are heading in the right direction with Red Risk also winning easily at Uttoxeter and several others running well at Newbury.
At some stage over twelve months you are bound to have a little dip in form. It’s happened to us in the past and if you are going to have a bit of a lull then January and early February is a good time to do it.
The horses continue to look great and work as i would expect and I’ve been confident throughout that they would come right.
Bravemansgame’s jumping was again electric as he made all the running in a Class 3 Limited Handicap before keeping on readily to take his unbeaten run over fences to four. He did what we wanted him to do and will come on a fair bit for the race because I’d been quite easy on him at home.
He is an exciting horse for Cheltenham and will be going for the three mile novice at Cheltenham unless the ground is heavy. He was a big baby last year, is much stronger now and fences have been the making of him. I’m sure he will be even better next season after another summer on his back and he looks ideal for the King George V1 Chase on Boxing Day.
Although Clan Des Obeaux looked outstanding in the paddock at Newbury he wasn’t quite at his best in finishing third to Eldorado Allen in the Betfair Denman Chase. A better jump at the fourth last would have put him on the heels of the leaders but he was always playing catch up from that point.
We are thinking of trying blinkers and more positive tactics on him next time at Aintree in the Betway Bowl which he won in great style last year. He seems to flourish in the spring .
Hitman also ran all right in finishing third in the Betfair Chase. He could have done with slower ground and will be stepped up in trip to two to a half miles at Aintree. We might also ride him more prominently there. He is only six, has time on his side and I still have a lot of faith in him.
In addition Knappers Hill was staying on nicely to finish sixth in the Betfair Hurdle and is another who looks as if he wants to be running over two and a half miles now. His jumping was very good and a possible option for him is the valuable EBF final at Sandown next month.
Looking ahead we expect to be quite busy next Saturday with entries at Wincanton and Ascot where Saint Calvados is on course for the Betfair Chase.
For the latest news all my Saturday runners please be sure to check out my Betfair column which goes live late on Friday afternoon.

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