Paul Nicholls gives the lowdown on his best Cheltenham Festival chances
Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle
He's a real tough one and is now rated 152 which is high for a novice. He's had a great season. He's won his smaller races and he won the Kingwell at Wincanton the other day. He really toughed it out for a novice and looks a proper horse now. He is every bit as good as Al Ferof and Noland [Supreme winners] but is quite a big price and we think he is in with a great chance. He gallops on and he has done nothing but improve, he is versatile in terms of ground and we're looking forward to running him in the festival opener.
Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices' Chase
Capeland could run in the Arkle. He is the sort of horse that is progressing and could outrun his odds. I think the race may cut up. He needed the run on Saturday but he probably got to the front too soon. He always runs well and likes a quickly-run race so could be a lively outsider.
Ultima Handicap Chase
Give Me A Copper
He's a very talented horse but is quite fragile. He missed the best part of 18 months through injury last year, and was fourth at Kempton on his first run back. He had a big weight, travelled and jumped well and it was a really good performance. He is a solid jumper, a class horse and I would be very hopeful of a big run.
Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase
RSA Insurance Novices' Chase
He will run in the RSA, and is a huge horse with a lot of ability. His two runs behind Defi Du Seuil and La Bague Au Roi this season look really good form. He was a little bit green last time out, goes well fresh and he will hopefully go to Aintree after this. He's a high-class chaser in the making, and is one of our big chances.
Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle
Getaway Trump and Brio Conti
Getaway Trump was second in the Challow and fourth in the Betfair Hurdle, but that race didn't suit him and he really wants two and a half miles. I could run him in the Ballymore but he is rated 143 so the Coral Cup is very attractive. I will have to make a decision, but I suspect he will go for the Coral Cup as he is very capable off 143. Brio Conti will also run.
Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle
Friend Or Foe
We have done very well in this race in the past and we bought this horse with the race in mind. He had two runs in France last summer and was fourth in both of them. We've looked after him and he made all the running at Taunton, and has a mark of 128. He's galloped nicely at Wincanton since, so I'd be very hopeful of a big run.
Weatherbys Champion Bumper
Dawn Run Mares' Novices' Hurdle
She is very good and is one our highest-rated mares. She is tough and gallops well, and I think she is exactly what you want for Cheltenham. She might want a bit of cut in the ground and it's nice to have a good mare to go with. She goes well fresh and we think she has a nice chance.
Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Riders' Handicap Chase
He runs in the Kim Muir and I thought he won well at Taunton last time out. It is a hard race to win but he goes there with a big shout and Will Biddick is lined up to ride him.
JCB Triumph Hurdle
Quel Destin and Pic D'Orhy
Quel Destin improved since his last run and is a tough horse. Sean Bowen was very impressed with him at Haydock last time. I know Sir Erec is a very short-priced favourite but he will have to be really good to beat our horse. He is one of our leading chances for Cheltenham. He might not have been a great flat horse like Sir Erec but he keeps going and keeps winning. He doesn't have sexy flat appeal like Sir Erec which means he's the price he is.
Pic D'Orhy is one bought with the future in mind and is a really nice horse. We took him for a racecourse gallop and we were thrilled with what we saw. We could run him in the Triumph if it is on the soft side. He has a lot of ability and we are very excited by him.
Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle
He ran really well last week and he will go to the County Hurdle next.
Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase
Clan Des Obeaux and Frodon
Everything has gone to plan with Clan Des Obeaux since the Denman Chase and has come out of the race really well. Ascot couldn't have gone better. We did think it was a soft race but he beat a dual Grade 1 winner in Terrefort and absolutely thrashed him. It was good to see him travel so well and jump well all the way to the line. Now we are where we want to be with him, and he is an experienced and mature horse. We are looking forward to letting him do the talking himself.
Frodon is a proper horse and has had a wonderful year. He jumped and travelled well in the Cotswold Chase, and we haven't run since purposely to keep him fresh and well. He is in the Ryanair and Gold Cup and we will have a look and make a plan depending on who else is running. We will keep our options open, and will run him in the race where we think he will have the best chance.
St James's Place Foxhunter Challenge Cup Open Hunters' Chase
Pacha Du Polder
Pacha Du Polder did his first normal run and he has come back a lot sharper. Cheltenham seems to suit him when they go flat out and you can just ride him behind and pass a few horses. He seems to know when to go at Cheltenham. This will be his last run unless Andy [Stewart, owner] changes his mind.
Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap Chase
Magic Saint and Le Prezien
Magic Saint has taken a bit of time to acclimatise. We went to Wincanton and he jumped and travelled well. We've always had the Grand Annual in mind and I'd say he has a leading chance. We really like him, and hopefully he might be better than a handicapper in time.
Le Prezien is 1lb higher than last time and he has run a few okay races but always comes good in the spring. He needs to sharpen up his jumping a bit but he's got a chance. The more it rains the better.
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