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Michel Le Bon - Newbury 26.11.09

Michel Le Bon would appreciate softer conditions, says Paul Nicholls

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker ( 

Rain no pain for Badger favourite Michel Le Bon

PAUL NICHOLLS believes forecast rain at Wincanton before Saturday's Badger Ales Trophy will only benefit 7-2 favourite Michel Le Bon.

The nine-year-old ran just three times last season, finishing tenth in the Hennessy before pulling up in a Grade 3 at Kempton and winning his final appearance of the season, returned to hurdles at Cheltenham in April.

Nicholls said: "More rain will suit Michel Le Bon, who ran a bit free in the Hennessy last season and didn't like fast ground at Kempton but finished the season with a great run over hurdles on soft ground."

In the same contest Nicholls runs No Loose Change, a 14-1 shot, and said: "He will enjoy the more galloping track than Fakenham last time but doesn't want any more rain."

One of the leading challengers to Michel Le Bon, Diamond Harry, an 8-1 hope, could pose a major threat if returning to form.

Jockey Noel Fehily said: "Diamond Harry’s last two outings were at Cheltenham Festival and Aintree and we pulled up in both having lost pace far too quickly – he was just wasn’t right.

"He’s back in a handicap with a 150 rating, which is what he won the 2010 Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup on.  If he shows his old form, he should run a big race."

The going at Wincanton is good to soft, good in places after three dry days, but the forecast is for rain today and overnight, as well as before racing on Saturday.

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