From Ditcheat to Newcastle: Nicholls sends Volpone Jelois 330 miles north
Ten-time champion jumps trainer Paul Nicholls provided his daughter Megan with a winner on the all-weather at Lingfield last week and aims to supply her with another in the form of Volpone Jelois, who makes the 330-mile trip from Ditcheat to Newcastle for the opening stayers' handicap (5.40).
He has had four runs on the all-weather this winter and won at Kempton last time out, although that was in a bumper for jumps horses.
"He won well the last day," said Nicholls. "He's been crying out for two miles. He's been running really well at Lingfield, which is a bit sharp for him and this looked a nice race for him.
"He did do it well at Kempton, so I'm hopeful of a good run again."
Meydan warm-up for Crowley
Jim Crowley, who will be playing for million-dollar prizes with five rides on the Dubai World Cup card at Meydan on Saturday, will warm up at a somewhat lower-profile level by partnering Samharry for his boss Hamdan Al Maktoum and John Gosden in the 32Red Casino Novice Stakes (7.40).
A winner on his debut in July 2016, the son of Exceed And Excel, who cost 600,00gns as a yearling, had more than a year off before returning to action at Chelmsford in December when finishing ninth of 12.
Geordie a sure thing for Curtis?
Rebecca Curtis enjoyed a welcome winner when Joe Farrell struck at Newbury on Friday and indicated Geordie Des Champs was a horse to follow for the rest of the season in the aftermath of that victory.
The JP McManus-owned gelded gets an immediate chance to prove his trainer right when lining up under Grand National-winning rider Niall Madden in Hereford's 3m1f novice chase (2.45).
Curtis has endured a tricky campaign, but aims to end it on a high and said: "Everything has been fine with him, but we've just waited for the ground to dry up a bit. It's been heavy and he doesn't want that so we'll give him a spring campaign now.
"He did it well at Taunton and he stays really well – the trip should suit him. We'll see what he does and then you've either got some nice novice races or he'll be qualified for handicaps after three runs."
Now the time to bounce back
Act Now won Hereford's 3m1½f mares' handicap hurdle (4.15) last year and Anthony Honeyball reckons she has claims of following up if she has recovered after being pulled up in the Devon National at Exeter last time.
That was still rated a creditable run by the trainer, who said: "The more rain we get the better. Noel's Fehily's booked and she's never run badly for him and, if she runs her race, all she does is gallop and stay in a high gear. She'll just keep going, so would have a squeak."
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