Nicholls upbeat as Sunset casts shadow over odds-on Aux Ptits Soins
Even though Cheltenham Festival winner Aux Ptits Soins failed to cope with Drumlee Sunset on his debut over fences in the 2m3f novice chase, his trainer Paul Nicholls was far from downcast by the performance.
The winner of the 2015 Coral Cup was plagued by setbacks following that success and had raced only once since. Nicholls expressed himself certain the six-year-old, who was sent off at 2-7, would benefit for the outing.
“I'm not disappointed by that at all as he came back to the yard only just before our owners’ day in early September, so it’s not a big surprise he's got a bit tired out there," he said.
"He was a bit lethargic in the race and lacked fluency at some of the fences, but he's every right to come on for it.
“I'm under no illusion he has to improve on what he's just done but he had to have three lots of major surgery after he won the Coral Cup and we don't really know how much that may or may not have taken out of him. There’s no certainty he'll end up being as good over fences as he was over hurdles anyway.”
Drumlee Sunset’s trainer Philip Hobbs was surprised he had proved good enough to turn over the odds-on shot, saying: “I don’t know where we go from here as the favourite's run below his best form. We'll have to wait and see how the handicapper assesses the performance.”
De Boinville bounces back
After being held up on the M6 following a racecourse gallop at Haydock, Nico De Boinville missed a winner but bounced back in style when Laurium proved much too good for Sykes in the 2m novice handicap chase.
De Boinville explained: “I'd ridden Coneygree in a racecourse gallop in readiness for the Betfair Chase there a week on Saturday and was travelling back down when there was a hold-up around the Sandbach area. It meant I arrived five minutes too late to partner Expedite to win the opener.”
Expedite’s trainer Ben Pauling is in flying form as the well-backed five-year-old proved his fourth winner from his last eight runners. He said: “Long may it last. This horse will now go chasing as he just doesn't respect his hurdles.”
Thought for the day
Exeter, like all racecourses, had been praying for the rain to come and they had a welcome 10mm overnight which eased the ground. However, the couple of sharp and heavy showers during racing was less appreciated as racegoers dived for cover.