Paso Doble bids to continue outstanding Nicholls record in Persian War
Friday: 2.45 Chepstow
Unibet Persian War Novices' Hurdle (Grade 2) | 2m3½f | 4yo+ | ITV4/Sky
With eight winners across the two days, Paul Nicholls dominated Chepstow's Silver Trophy meeting last year and the champion trainer is sending another talented team to the Welsh track.
One of his most interesting runners appears in the highest quality race, with Paso Doble making his third start over hurdles in this Grade 2 contest.
Pitched straight in at this level in the Adonis Juvenile Hurdle on his debut last February, Paso Doble ran an eyecatching race in third behind runaway winner Tritonic.
He then returned to Kempton in May to get off the mark when comfortably accounting for the 122-rated Bombyx despite some novicey jumping, a victory that bodes well for this race as seven of the last ten runners had won their previous start.
A not so positive trend for Paso Doble is the record of four-year-olds, with only one successful in the last ten runnings, but Nicholls has won twice with that age group – Silviniaco Conti (2010) and Wonderful Charm (2012) – from a total of eight wins in the race and the son of Dawn Approach is not short of experience having run nine times, winning twice, for Jim Bolger on the Flat.
First Street is another four-year-old to get a 2lb age allowance and he has a 5lb higher rating than Paso Doble following novice hurdle wins at Bangor and Warwick, the latter by an impressive eight and a half lengths.
This is a big step up in grade though, and trainer Nicky Henderson has yet to win the race.
The Persian War has been more on the radar of Philip Hobbs. The trainer is double-handed with Camprond, who has smart handicap form, and recent Worcester winner Luttrell Lad as he seeks a sixth success.
Up For Parol has a 190-day layoff to defy but has won his last two starts and should be suited by the drying ground.
What they say
Philip Hobbs, trainer of Camprond and Luttrell Lad
Camprond has been pretty consistent for most of the summer and has decent experience. Luttrell Lad won extremely easily at Worcester and although this is a massive step up in grade, we think he's good enough to run very well.
Jamie Snowden, trainer of Up For Parol
He was a bit free on debut over two and a half and then we dropped him back to two and he won on both occasions, before being put away for the summer. He's a novice until November and this looks a nice starting point for him. His pedigree suggests he wants to go up in trip and I think two and a half round Chepstow will be ideal for him. It's a good race but he goes there with every chance.
Nicky Henderson, trainer of First Street
I was quite impressed with him last time as I thought he ran very well. He's done everything right so far, but it will be a different ball game here. Once you've won two races, you haven't got many options but to step up. It's a good prize and it's worth a crack at it.
Paul Nicholls, trainer of Paso Doble
I'm sure he'll love two and a half miles and I know he loves good ground from the spring. It's a step up in class and trip, but he ran very well in the Adonis when we were just putting our toe in the water and then he won nicely next time. We're very happy with him.
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