Paul Nicholls: saddles Saint Roque, who is on a five-timer, at SandownPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Nicholls bidding for more Winter success
THE hopefuls stepping up to Grade 2 company in today’s Winter Novices’ Hurdle (1.45), run this year as the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle, at Sandown have some hard acts to follow.
Brilliant stayer Inglis Drever took this prize in 2003, while future Grand National winner Neptune Collonges came out on top two years later. And See More Business scored his first graded victory in this event back in 1995, the launchpad for a career in which he landed the Cheltenham Gold Cup, two King George VI Chases and numerous other big races.
The two last-named horses were trained by Paul Nicholls, who bids for a fourth win overall with Saint Roque, who is on a five-timer himself having gone unbeaten in four runs over hurdles this season.
Those victories have all come under stable jockey Daryl Jacob, who said yesterday: “I am looking forward to him, he has got a good winning sequence going. I hope it will be decent ground tomorrow and though it looks a good race he seems in great form at home.”
Jonjo O’Neill won this last year with Taquin Du Seuil and he bids to follow up with Oscar Fortune, who has won a bumper and both his runs over hurdles this season.
Nicky Henderson runs Beat That, who made an impressive winning debut over hurdles at Ascot last month.
Nicholls and Jacob also team up with Rolling Aces in the Future Stars Chase, an intermediate event in which he takes on just two rivals as he bids to follow up a reappearance success in a Grade 2 at Down Royal last month.
“He won nicely at Down Royal last time but it is going to be a very different kettle of fish with only three runners,” the jockey said. “It will not be ideal for him, he would probably be better in a bigger field but he seems in great form at home.”
Harry Topper has his first run since winning the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby in early November.
Riches on offer in Scoop6
Tonight's Scoop6 will be worth at least £100,000 after last week’s bet went down in the fourth leg.
Anyone who can pick the winners of six nominated races from Dundalk and Wolverhampton will land a share of the guaranteed £25,000 win pool and qualify to play for the £75,000 bonus fund next Friday.
Tonight’s bet kicks off at 6.15pm with the first of four races from Dundalk. The remaining two legs will come from Wolverhampton.
Spokesman Andrew Griffiths said: “The guaranteed £100,000 pools should prove a huge carrot for Scoop6 players.”
Leg 1 6.15 Dundalk
Leg 2 6.30 Wolverhampton
Leg 3 6.45 Dundalk
Leg 4 7.00 Wolverhampton
Leg 5 7.15 Dundalk
Leg 6 7.45 Dundalk
Exeter: Good, good to firm in places
Sandown: Chase - Good, good to soft in places; Hurdles - Good to soft, back straight good in places
Rod Millman has a 24 per cent strike-rate (5-21) with runners wearing headgear for the first time in the last two years. He fits Modem with first-time blinkers in the 1m4f handicap (3.35) at Lingfield
Paul Nicholls is 13-29 with debutants in novice hurdles at Exeter since 2007 for a £1 level-stake profit of £23.55. He runs Foggy’s Wall (2.40)
Pointers courtesy of Raceform Interactive