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  1. #1
    Stable Fat Jockey mayo's Avatar
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    Feb 2012

    Paul Nicholls Stable Tour

    More quotes here ..

    Kauto Star

    He's an amazing horse and produced two more top-drawer performances last season, when he won the Betfair and the King George.

    He's the highest-rated chaser in training. We'll give him a month to six weeks' work and see what happens. Clifford [Baker, head lad] rides him every day and knows him better than anyone. Then we'll have a chat with Clive [Smith, owner]. He'll make the decision [as to whether or not KS will race again] and we'll support whatever decision he makes. It's fully up to him.

    Dualla Lord

    His jumping just let him down last year, when we tried him once over fences and he fell at Cheltenham. We went back to hurdles after that and he won easily at Wincanton in May. We're very hopeful he'll do well over fences this year but he can still run over hurdles and we may look at one run over three miles before sending him back over fences.

    Big Buck's

    A phenomenal horse and he's only nine years old. As you can see, he's mad fresh, though he's been doing plenty of work. It looks like we need to do a bit more. He'll start off again in the Long Distance at Newbury's Hennessy meeting and follow the well-established route to Ascot, Cheltenham and Aintree. Whether we'll run in the Cleeve as well . . . we'll see. He could be going to the Festival looking for his 20th win on the trot. He's so good over hurdles, there's no point in sending him chasing again.

    Rocky Creek

    Won a Grade Two novice hurdle at Doncaster but was well below his best at the Cheltenham Festival. He's a big, strong, scopey horse and we're very much looking forward to him running over fences. He'll be ready to run in October if the weather stays as it is.

    Keppols Hill

    Was with Richard Barber last season and won four point to points. If the ground's on the easy side, he should be ready to run in late October or early November. We look forward to him going novice chasing over three miles.

    Ruben Cotter

    He's big and scopey and will make a nice chaser. He was a novice hurdler last season and we gave him a bit of time off before he won at Exeter in May. He jumps well over fences and he'll be ready some time in October. He was growing up last season and we should see a more consistent campaign this time.


    A half-brother to My Will by Dom Alco, who is also the sire of Neptune Collonges, Al Ferof and Silviniaco Conti. He won a hurdle at Pau in February and then a novice chase at Auteuil in May. He'll go novice chasing and he goes nicely at home. He's fairly strong for a four-year-old and he could run at Cheltenham, either in October or November. A lot of Dom Alcos get better with age and distance.

    Fascino Rustico

    He was bought at auction in April after hacking up in a bumper at Carlisle. He's big and scopey and he's got chaser written all over him. He thrives on work. We'll keep him to novice hurdles this year and he might take in the bumper at the Paddy Power meeting in November. He'll be a chaser next year.

    Italian Master

    He was a bit disappointing for us last season, when he was beaten in his two novice hurdles, and I don't think he really acclimatised. He's strengthened up over the summer and he's got a handicap mark, so we may not bother with hurdles any more and put him straight into handicap chases. I think you'll see a much-improved horse this year.


    He won four novice hurdles last season, which very few horses ever do. He jumps super and he looks a ready-made winner of a novice chase. We might try him first in the three-mile handicap hurdle at Cheltenham's Paddy Power meeting in November. He can run any time we like over fences and sons of Milan will get better with age. He goes well on good ground.

    Kauto Stone

    He won impressively at Down Royal on his first start for us last year but his season tailed off from there. He was a bit the same in France, running well in the autumn and then losing his way in spring. He's had a breathing operation because I think he used to get wound up in his races and panic. He definitely wants to go three miles and his first run will be over that distance at Down Royal again. He looks fantastic, he's had time to acclimatise and that makes a big difference to some horses.

    Ted Spread

    Won a handicap hurdle at Taunton in January and he was involved in the County Hurdle until he got interfered with. He'll probably go to Ascot on 29 October and then the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham in November. He's a horse to follow on decent ground.


    He joined us in the middle of last season and had one run, finishing second to Kumbeshwar in a novice chase, which is good form. He fell apart after that but he's done incredibly well over the summer. Some of these horses from France need time to acclimatise and strengthen up. The race we won at Wetherby with Fistral Beach last October might be a suitable race to start him in.


    A lovely looking three-year-old who won a juvenile hurdle at Enghien in Paris in April before coming to us. He's improved enormously over the last month and might be ready to run in the middle of October at Chepstow. We like what we see from him and he's an interesting horse to follow. Recent changes to the rules mean that he can compete in juvenile hurdles all season but he's likely to be a chaser in time.


    We had high hopes for him last year but he was a bit disappointing. He's a big, strong horse who took a while to get over the gelding operation, after which he had a bit of an infection. He could be well handicapped for the start of the season. He's had a breathing operation and I'll aim him at 13 October at Chepstow, where they have a four-year-old handicap hurdle. If he's not ready for then, there will be plenty of opportunities for him.

    Dark Lover

    He missed last season with a leg injury. His handicap mark of 120 is very winnable and we might start him off in a handicap hurdle but it won't be too long before he goes chasing.

    Pepe Simo

    He's won over fences and hurdles for us but he hasn't been seen since October because of a leg injury. We'll continue to mix and match chases and hurdles with him and he's well capable of winning more races.

    Come On Ginger: Five-year-old King's Theatre gelding and full brother to ill-fated Cheltenham Festival winner Brindisi Breeze. Won his two point-to-points easily and will start in the same novices' hurdle at Wincanton in October that launched Denman's career in 2005.

    Cristal Bonus: "Ran a stinker at the Cheltenham Festival but when he got home we discovered a serious abscess on his wither. Loves soft ground and three miles and goes to Down Royal, Ireland, for the Intermediate Chase in November won by our Kauto Stone last year."

    Dualla Lord: Won five of seven point-to-points. Has good form over hurdles yet found one or two too good for him but finally got off the mark at Wincanton in May. Will start in a three-mile novices' hurdle and then go chasing. "He's got everything in front of him."

    Edgardo Sol: Really versatile – a close second in the County Hurdle and then won an Aintree handicap chase. "Showed incredible improvement last season. Better handicapped over hurdles, he'll start in a handicap hurdle or maybe the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter in November."

    Hinterland: Talented juvenile hurdler who missed Cheltenham Festival and was then brought down at Aintree. Bred for chasing and jumps nicely. "Definitely one to follow as a two-mile novice chaser – could run at the first Cheltenham fixture in October."

    Join Together: Won pre-Christmas Cheltenham staying chases last season but didn't fire in the RSA Chase. "Likes to have his own way and to run in a small field but will improve this season." Hennessy Gold Cup entry and lined up for Down Royal or Leopardstown in Ireland.

    Keppols Hill: An exciting six-year-old who was Wessex area Young Horse champion last season after winning all four point-to-points. "A lovely big horse who stays and jumps well – if the ground is on the easy side he'll be ready for novice chases in October or early November."

    Mr Mole: First JP McManus horse to be trained at Ditcheat. Big, scopy four-year-old who won his only bumper at Hereford and then went pointing. "Novice hurdling this season and a future staying chaser."

    Oscargo: Cheltenham three-mile handicap hurdle winner in December – and unlucky not to win there again next month when unseating. "He's got better as he has matured and now goes chasing. He stays forever and the four-mile NH Chase at the Festival is the target."

    Poungach: Stuck to hurdles last term and won a competitive Sandown handicap. "Highest-rated novice hurdler to go chasing. Not a natural jumper. When he gets the hang of it will be one to follow."

    Rocky Creek: Disappointed at the Cheltenham Festival when many Ditcheat horses were affected by a bug. Had earlier won a Grade Two three-mile novices' hurdle at Doncaster and now novice chasing. "He's one to follow as we expect him to improve considerably over fences."

    Roger Beantown: Irish bumper winner who came to Ditcheat last season but bled and coughed and didn't get on the track. "A totally different horse this season – a dark horse and one to follow." Will start in a maiden hurdle next month.

    Sire Collonges: Niggly problems blighted his hurdling career but looked awesome over fences when hacking up at Fontwell Park. "Brilliant jumper who we hope to start at Cheltenham next month in a staying novice chase."

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    Last edited by Old Vic; 1st November 2012 at 10:09 AM.

  2. #2
    Stable Fat Jockey mayo's Avatar
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    Feb 2012

    An Irish points winner that we bought at Cheltenham in spring for 62,000. He's by Fruits Of Love, who most of you might not have heard of. If he'd been by Presenting, he'd have cost a fortune. He'll run in a bumper, then hurdles and he'll be in chases next year.

    Likeable Rogue

    He must have done something right last season because he got up to a mark of 128 without winning. He'll probably run in one three-mile novice hurdle and then go chasing. He stays forever but I'd be surprised if he can't win over hurdles first.


    He improved all last season and through the summer. He was a bit unlucky last season, falling in both his last two starts when he was getting into a challenging position. He could have won both. He picked up an injury but he's over that now. He'll stay three miles and we'll look for handicap chases at Cheltenham and Newbury.


    He's done well for a bit of time off, having travelled well in two bumpers last season before failing to see it out to the finish. He might run in another bumper in October and then he'll go novice hurdling. He jumps well and should leave last year's form well behind.


    He took time to come right last season but eventually won on his final race at Ayr. He's a novice over hurdles until November, so we might run him once in October before going chasing.


    Won a couple of good handicap hurdles under Harry Derham early last season but lost his form a bit in the New Year. Things will be hard for him with his high rating this season but Harry can still claim 7lb off him. He'll step up to two and a half miles at some point.

    Roger Beantown

    He's a lovely individual but we never had him right all last year and he didn't make it to the track. He bled in his box and there were other small problems. He's had a summer out and done really well. He'll go novice hurdling and we might start with a maiden hurdle in mid-October. He's a dark horse who could be an interesting one to follow. He looks a totally different horse to last season.

    Ulck Du Lin

    He won over hurdles and fences in France before joining us in the middle of last season. Everything was happening a bit quickly for him in the Fred Winter at the Cheltenham Festival but he ran well on his next two starts. He's not a novice over fences, so he'll have to go into handicap chases over two and a half miles but he jumps and stays well. He should leave last year's form behind, now that he's had time to acclimatise.


    Won over hurdles at Taunton in December but then he had a problem with a fractured tooth and didn't run again. He'll be aimed at a handicap hurdle at the end of October or at the Paddy Power meeting. I really like him and I think there's plenty more to come.


    Won at Chepstow in October but then got a minor leg injury and hasn't run since. He's been back in a while and we're looking at running in the same race at Chepstow. He'll have an entry in the Paddy Power Gold Cup. He's a decent horse and, if we can keep him right, there are more races to be won with him, though he's not been the easiest to train.


    He took a while to get over being gelded last season but the summer off has done him good and he'll be running in novice hurdles from October onwards.


    Won over hurdles at Cheltenham in November and on his fences debut at Wincanton on Boxing Day but then he fell on his only other start. He's not the easiest to train but there are definitely races to be won with him. He'll have his first start in the Badger Ales Chase.

    Tidal Bay

    Like the other horses we got from up north [Howard Johnson's yard], he took a little while to come to himself and we're always learning about him. He gave me one of my proudest moments of last season on the very last day of it, when he won the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown. You will never see a horse win one of those big staying handicap chases more easily under top weight. We think we have the key to riding him now and hope we can build up his confidence. You've got to walk him out of the gate. I told Daryl [Jacob] before the Sandown race, ride him like Neptune [in the Grand National]. There's more to come from him and he'll be entered in the Welsh National and the Grand National and we might consider runnijng him in Ireland.

    Funny Star

    Bought from France, where he won his only start so far at Auteuil. He's a novice over hurdles until 1 November and we might run him in the Persian War at Chepstow. After that, he might go chasing or stay over hurdles.

    Far West

    A lovely three-year-old who was third at Auteuil on his only start so far. He's ready made for juvenile hurdles and 'National Hunt' novice hurdles. He'll be ready to run at the end of September or early October. He's sure to jump fences in time.

    Wonderful Charm

    A half-brother to Royal Charm who showed some top class form in France. He's a novice over hurdles until November and he's another possible candidate for the Persian War at Chepstow. I suspect he won't go chasing this year, we'll probably give him a nice, easy year.

    For Two

    He won his only start to date at Auteuil and is definitely going to make a chaser in time but we'll look after him this year. He's very forward for a three-year-old.

    Five Dream

    He doesn't like fences, which is a shame, because he's about 50lb lower in the handicap over them. He's become very hard to place but we'll run him in all the good staying races and he might be able to get some good prize money behind Big Buck's, especially if Big Buck's has frightened off all the opposition. But life's tough for him.

    Toby Lerone

    Won a couple of points for Richard Barber last season and then we tried him in a bumper and he was very disappointing. He was probably in need of a holiday and he's not really a bumper horse anyway. He's definitely improved, physically, and he'll be running in three-mile novice hurdles from November. He's not the biggest but he does jump well and he's got a future over fences.

    There's No Panic

    Missed last year with a leg injury after being a decent novice hurdler for us the season before. He's been in since July and we're dying to go chasing with him. He jumps really well. He's won at two miles but should now be most at home over an extended trip. When he runs, he'll be ready to win.

  3. #3
    Stable Fat Jockey mayo's Avatar
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    Feb 2012
    Black Thunder

    I never felt he was really right in the spring, despite his win at Chepstow. There's a decent hurdle race at the second Chepstow meeting in October and I'll try to have him ready for that. He's done so well this summer and he'll have no problem jumping a fence.


    He was backward last year when we got him. He was fifth in a decent bumper at Ascot and then won his only point to point with Richard Barber. Whatever he achieves over hurdles will be a bonus because he needs fences in a year's time. He's still in the 'big baby' category.

    Rolling Aces

    He'll go novice chasing and was always going to be much better over fences. A breathing operation has definitely improved him enormously and he'll be ready to run at the end of October. Ignore his last run, when he was down the field at Wincanton, as he was well below his best.

    Come On Ginger

    He's a full brother to Brindisi Breeze and a lovely young horse to put in your notebook. He ran in two point to points and won both. He's big and gangly but he jumped and travelled and we're really pleased with him. I'm looking at the novice hurdle at Wincanton at the end of October that Denman started off in seven years ago. He's big and scopey and he's done everything right so far.

    Silviniaco Conti

    We'll run him in the Charlie Hall at Wetherby and then make a plan. He'll probably have an entry in the King George but he might be an ideal horse for Aintree in the spring and we'll give him plenty of time. He might be a Gold Cup contender in 2014 rather than 2013, as he could get stronger and more consistent.

    Rebel Rebellion

    We had high hopes for him last season but he was disappointing on his first run at Chepstow and it turned out that he'd injured a tendon. We've given him lots of time and he's done very well. He'll go over fences now at two miles and we'll try to start off in a beginners chase at Exeter or somewhere like that. He jumps extremely well.

    Dodging Bullets

    He would be one of the best maidens in training. He was fourth in the Triumph Hurdle after running a bit free and wasn't at his best at Aintree. He's done well for his first summer out and will be aimed at the four-year-olds only hurdle at Cheltenham in October. He's a horse to follow.

    Cedre Bleu

    A big, scopey chaser, he's crying out for three miles. He started coughing after the new year and never really got over that all season. There's no real plan at the moment. We'll get him fit and ready and find a three-mile handicap chase somewhere. He's also eligible for graduation chases. I'd like to think he'd be winning.


    I never really had him right last season. We tried him in the Charlie Hall but he blatantly didn't stay. He'll run in all the two-and-a-half-mile handicap chases at Cheltenham. He'll have top weight but we'll put a claimer on him, Harry Derham or someone like that, so he'll only have 11-5 to carry. I'm sure there's still another race or two in him.


    He took a while to come to himself last season after being gelded over the summer but managed to win twice in novice hurdles. We were preparing him for the Triumph Hurdle when he had a small injury. He'll stay hurdling and we hope he can develop into a top-level performer. He will eventually make a chaser. He's twice the size he was this time last year.

    Harry The Viking

    He was second in the four-miler at the last Cheltenham Festival but was over the top when he was pulled up in the Scottish National. He might be an obvious type for the Grand National, he stays forever. He'll probably go for the Badger Ales at Wincanton early in the season and then the Hennessy. We'll try to win a three mile handicap chase with him and then look after him with the National in mind. He keeps a bit to himself but I'm sure there's plenty more races to be won with him.


    He won a handicap hurdle at Chepstow in October and then took an age to get back to the same form on the same ground before winning twice over fences in spring. He wants decent ground and two and a half miles in a novice chase. He'll be ready to run at Chepstow or Cheltenham in October.

    Prospect Wells

    Was high class on the Flat before joining us last season and doing really well over hurdles. We had an enormous problem trying to get him jumping. I'm dying to try him over two and a half miles and I think he'll continue to progress and improve.


    Here's a horse you definitely want in your '10 to follow' list. He's a four-year-old novice chaser, a very big, scopey, chasing sort. He jumps nicely, he's well forward and he should turn up at the first Cheltenham meeting in a two-mile novice chase. Then he might go for the race we won with Al Ferof at the November meeting there. He's got loads of speed.

    Edgardo Sol

    He showed incredible improvement last season. He won off 127 at Aintree in October. By the time of their big meeting in April, he was on 143 and he won again. Life will be a lot harder for him this season but I'm sure there's another race in him.

    Buck's Bond

    His dam is a half-sister to Big Buck's and he's spent a couple of seasons point to pointing to gain experience. He's been big and backward but he jumps really well and he'll be ready to run from mid-October. He'll probably go novice chasing and he can stay three miles in soft ground.

    Royal Charm

    He looks as well as I've seen him since we've had him. He was a bit disappointing last season, when he fell on his first start and lost his confidence a bit. He's well able to win off his chase mark and he loves soft ground. He needs to be high on confidence but we can win a nice race with him.

    Saint Roque

    He was disappointing last season as a novice hurdler, when he wasn't seeing out his races. He's had a breathing operation and hopefully we can start winning races with him. He should be chasing sooner rather than later.

    Atlantic Roller

    He's needed time and ran in a couple of bumpers last season. He'll want three miles over hurdles and he's forward now, ready to go. He'll be in novice hurdles for the time being but eventually he'll make a really nice staying chaser.

    Jump City

    He's consistently good and was second to Darlan at Taunton in January and that one is thought to be a Champion Hurdle candidate at his yard. He jumps nicely and he'll be ready to go novice chasing in October. He might start at Exeter and will improve for a fence

  4. #4
    Stable Fat Jockey mayo's Avatar
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    Feb 2012
    Deireadh Re

    Won a Grade Two at Cheltenham in December among other races but was in need of a holiday when he ran third on his chasing debut at Fakenham in May. He's had a breathing operation and been cantering for about 10 days. He jumps fences well and will leave that Fakenham form well behind.

    Suerte Al Salto

    We fancied him for a Wincanton bumper but he choked and stopped. We had his breathing sorted before turning him out again at Fontwell, where he showed loads of speed to win. He'll now go novice hurdling. He jumps well, he likes decent ground and he'll be ready to run early.

    Sky Watch

    He won his only start in a Sandown bumper in February but he's not really a bumper horse. He's going to be a staying chaser but he'll go novice hurdling for a season and he's been schooling very well at home. He'll like a big, galloping track.


    Won a graduation chase at Ascot in December and a Grade Three handicap at Newbury in March. I think he'll keep improving and we may step him up in trip. He'll be entered in all the good races, as his high handicap rating gives him limited options. We might look at some Grade Ones in Ireland.

    Current Event

    Won three times over fences last season and wasn't at his best when third on his final start. He'll be in handicap chases from two to two and a half miles. He needs soft ground and I'm sure he'll win his couple of races.

    Easter Day

    Ran well in a couple of bumpers and ran into a well-readied and smart opponent when second at Worcester in May. He'll go novice hurdling and he jumps really nicely. He'll be ready to go in October.

    Mr Mole

    Won his only start so far in a soft-ground bumper at Hereford. He's a big, scopey sort who's done very well and goes really nicely. He goes novice hurdling but will be a lovely staying chaser for the future. He's the first horse that we've had in the yard for JP McManus, who's an interesting addition to the team.

    No Loose Change

    He won on his second start over fences last season and I think Ruby [Walsh, jockey] must have thought his arse was on fire because he won by 25 lengths and the horse went up a stone in the handicap. We're aiming at a decent three-mile handicap chase at Chepstow on 13 October. He wants decent ground and he might be the sort to catch fresh and first time out.


    He did well over hurdles for a horse who's so big and won at Cheltenham's December meeting. He's ready to go chasing. He stays forever and might be a Grand National horse one day.


    I think he's the highest-rated hurdler that we have to go chasing this year. He was due to go novice chasing last season but he clearly needed more time before making that transition, so he won a handicap hurdle first time at Sandown and was then second to Oscar Whisky at Cheltenham. He's done lots of schooling and I'd love to start him somewhere like Wincanton or Worcester. He's not the most natural of jumpers so we've had to do a lot of work with him but when he gets it together, he'll be a nice horse to follow.

    Empire Levant

    He was second to Rock On Ruby at Newbury in November, which now looks like really good form, but I never really had him right after that. He's done well over the summer. He can win off his handicap mark over hurdles, so we'll try that again and then go chasing. There's plenty more to come from him as he strengthens up.

    Sire Collonges

    His career so far has been interrupted by a few niggles but we're confident those are behind him. He made all to win on his chasing debut at Fontwell in May, showing much improved form. He stayed well and jumped exceptionally well. He'll be aimed at the three-mile novice chase at the first Cheltenham meeting in October. You'll see plenty more of him this season.


    He was fourth in the Haldon Gold Cup at the start of last season but then things didn't really go to plan and his season was ended by a setback. He's back doing two canters a day. I think he wants a step up in trip and I hope he can regain his form over a bit further.

    Michel Le Bon

    We had high hopes for him over fences last season but in hindsight the Hennessy might not have been the brightest place to start. We put him back over hurdles because he'd just lost his confidence and he won at Cheltenham in April. He'll go back over fences now. He wants soft ground and a trip, so he's an obvious type for something like the Welsh National.

    Cristal Bonus

    Won the Pendil at Kempton and we really fancied him at the Cheltenham Festival but he ran poorly and then we discovered an abscess on his wither, so that explained that. He was second to Menorah in a Grade Two at Aintree, which was more like it. He might go for the intermediate chase at Down Royal in November over two and a half miles and he likes soft ground.

    Join Together

    A novice chaser last season, when he won twice at Cheltenham before Christmas. He's going to be suited by a galloping track and big distances. He'll have an entry in the Hennessy and races at Leopardstown might suit him.


    He had a little injury that kept him off the course until February. Then he became the first horse ever to win the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury on his seasonal debut but then developed a cough. He never really sparkled after that and did well in the circumstances to be fifth in the Champion Hurdle before falling at Aintree. He's looking really well and we'll let him tell us when he's ready. The Champion Hurdle is again the number one target and he might take in the International at Cheltenham in December. We accept he might need a bit further in time but he should be a stronger horse this year, as a lot of horses strengthen remarkably in their fourth to fifth year.

    Cowards Close

    A winning Irish pointer who will now go novice hurdling. He's a real staying horse who's been working hard and he'll be a lovely chaser in time.

    Fox Run

    An impressive winner of his only point in Ireland. We like what we see with him, he shows plenty of speed at home. He'll have one run in a bumper to give him some education and then he'll go novice hurdling. He'll be ready at the end of October and will make a chaser in time.

    Captain Kelly

    A points winner, he had a breathing operation and then ran second in a bumper on his debut for us last season. We gave him some time and he was then second on his hurdles debut at Fakenham in May. He needs a drop back in trip and decent ground and i'm sure he'll be up to winning novice hurdles. He'll make a staying chaser in time.

    Sidney Melbourne

    Came to us from Charlie Mann, having needed time off for an injury. He's been with us for about two weeks and will be ready to run in another eight. He's well up to winning some novice hurdles.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Sprinter's Avatar
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    Feb 2012
    No Loose Change

    He won on his second start over fences last season and I think Ruby [Walsh, jockey] must have thought his arse was on fire because he won by 25 lengths and the horse went up a stone in the handicap. We're aiming at a decent three-mile handicap chase at Chepstow on 13 October. He wants decent ground and he might be the sort to catch fresh and first time out.
    Bit of tension ?

  6. #6
    Doesn't seem to have the same firepower as Henderson this time ....willie Mullins seems to have got the best of wylies

  7. #7
    Stable Fat Jockey mayo's Avatar
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    Feb 2012
    Writing in his exclusive column at he said: "We cantered 123 horses here on Tuesday - the most I ever have in a single morning in my 20 years here.

    "And those record numbers are matched by my enthusiasm too. I honestly don't think I have looked forward to a season more than this, and quite a few people have said that they can hear that appetite in my voice and my manner. I am raring to go.

    "Things will be different this year, with no Denman, Master Minded, Neptune Collonges - and what a story that was, winning the National as an 11yo having made a winning debut over hurdles for us as a 4yo at Chepstow in November 2005 - and with a decision on Kauto Star's future still to be made.

    "And when people say that I am up against it with Nicky for the trainers' title this year, I am reminded of Alan Hansen's famous quote all these years ago that Manchester United couldn't win the title with kids. Well, we know what happened there - and we will see what happens this season.

    "Every year, at this stage, I am asked about retaining the title and I say that it is not foremost in my mind - and every year people think I am talking rubbish!

    "But I can tell you here and now that winning the trainers' title is not what gets me out of bed in the mornings. Winning races for my owners does that. I love winning, day-in, day-out, and having good horses competing in the all best races."

    "I think I have about 40 new horses in total, and a few babies in the pre-training and satellite yards ready to come in and replace the summer horses when they go for their break," said Nicholls.

    "As for the early season targets for the big races I have Silviniaco Conti pencilled in for the Charlie Hall, Join Together and Cristal Bonus for Down Royal, and Sanctuaire for the Tingle Creek.

    "I could name you at least four possibles for the Betfair Chase next month, dependent on their form and fitness and the ground - Tidal Bay, Silviniaco Conti, Join Together and Cristal Bonus - and any of those could be aimed at Kempton on Boxing Day too, along with the likes of Kauto Stone and Al Ferof (who could possibly start off in the Peterborough Chase)."

    Nicholls also told his Betfair column: "Don't forget the likes of Tataniano (set to reappear in a fortnight in the Chepstow race he won last year), and the five-year-old Edgardo Sol.

    "Pacha Du Polder is being considered for the Old Roan and he could be a big improver this season.

    "And Harry The Viking is being aimed at a 100,000 handicap chase at Ascot on November 3."

  8. #8
    His championship rival Paul Nicholls, who will surely have a winner with For Two at Aintree on Sunday, sends young Harry Skelton up to Stratford to ride Ulck Du Lin and the pairing are worth backing getting the hefty weight four-year-olds' weight allowance in the Totepool Handicap Chase.

    This horse attracted plenty of headlines last season when being pitched straight into handicap company in Cheltenham's Fred Winter Hurdle, but all of the market attention bemused those closest to the stable as since his arrival from France he had always looked to need fences and a trip.

    Having been ante-post favourite only a few days before the race, his price drifted back out towards the off (punters getting a clue when Ruby Walsh jumped off to ride something else for Willie Mullins) and in the end it was no surprise to see him finish down the field.

    But he ended the season with a couple of fair efforts over hurdles and this move back to fences (over which he has already been successful in France) and up in distance to two miles five and a half furlongs is very much expected to suit.

    Also fancied for the same stable is Wonderful Charm, who runs in the Persian War Novices' Hurdle at Chepstow. This gelding had some smart jumping form in France and was a particularly expensive purchase to join his new owners in Britain.

  9. #9
    13:50 Aintree - Empire Levant

    Disappointed on his final two starts last season, and this race will tell us whether we stick to hurdling with him or try him over fences. Certainly looks a chaser in appearance as he is a big horse and he has filled into his frame over the summer, and is a lot stronger physically. And we know that he goes well fresh too, having hacked up at Newbury first time up last season before finishing second to a certain Rock on Ruby at the same track 48 hours later. Is 11lb higher than for the Newbury win and is saddled with top weight here, so Harry takes 7lb off. If he runs a tidy race, and I am hopeful he will, then we will probably keep him to hurdling for the time being.

    14:05 Chepstow - Toby Lerone

    Won both his points and Harry and Richard had him at Seaborough last season, when he made his racecourse debut in a bumper here in April and ran a bit poorly, in truth. But he has been here with us since July and I can tell you that he is better than that. Our fellow jumps really well but let's see what he shows us on the track. Worcester faller God Of The Kop is probably the one to beat here.

    14:35 Chepstow - Deireadhe Re

    Proved very progressive over hurdles last season, ending up with a fair fifth off a mark of 139 at Aintree in April. Was clearly over the top when running badly on his chasing debut at Fakenham in May. Has had a breathing operation since then and I would expect to see a much better performance today, but it could be that he needs the run here. Those of mine that have had a breathing operation got started later than the others, and some are needing it. Dodging Bullets didn't, but the likes of Rolling Aces did, as I warned he might beforehand. Certainly has the ability to figure in this company though.

    14:50 Stratford - Ulck Du Lin

    Somehow became a bit of a gossip horse after joining us from France last season, and there was talk of him being a "plot horse" for the Fred Winter, when he was no such thing. He finished in midfield in that race but went on to show better form when placed in hurdles at Chepstow and Sandown. We send him handicap chasing here. He won over fences in France and he has schooled well in preparation for this, and a mark of 126, less his 4yo allowance, gives him a good chance. Quite often, these French horses take time to come to themselves and hopefully Ulck Du Lin can progress this season.

    15:30 Aintree - Pacha Du Polder

    Proved a bit in-and-out for us last season after joining us from France, but won from 3 from 5 and really got his act together when beating Rival D'Estruval by 14 lengths in a Grade 2 over 2m4f at Ayr in April. It was good to see the runner-up come out and win well on his reappearance at Carlisle earlier in the month and Pacha Du Polder is a horse that has done well over the summer and one that I hold high hopes for this season. This is clearly a very competitive handicap - this Old Roan has more depth to it than usual - but it is a good starting point for him, he is in good shape and I have had this race in mind for him ever since he came in. He was actually rated 150 after beating Eradicate a nose in a two-runner race at Sandown on his first start for us, which I thought was ludicrously high and said so at the time, but he races off that mark here, which I think is fair on what he went on to achieve at Ayr. Hopefully, there is more to come.

    15:40 Chepstow - Wonderful Charm

    Is a horse who we bought for Mr Geffen after he finished second in a Grade 2 hurdle at Autueil in April. The winner, Usual Suspects, was rated one of the best horses in France - he tragically died of colic recently - and the third Esmondo won a Grade 3 hurdle by 14 lengths from the very smart Gemix at the weekend. So that was clearly classy form. He has impressed me since his arrival and, as he is only a novice until November 1, I have decided to take this race in. There is always the acclimatisation fear when you get horses from France, and I certainly expect him to improve as the season goes on. But, even though he meets some decent and progressive horses, this looks a good opportunity, so we take our chance.

    16:15 Chepstow - Salubrious

    We bought him after he won his Stratford bumper and he was slightly disappointing on his first start for us at Cheltenham. But he came back with sore shins that day, so we gave him a bit of time, and he immediately showed his true form when beating Carrigmorna King at Taunton on his hurdling debut. Unfortunately, he couldn't race afterwards as he had an infection in one of his teeth, so we had him x-rayed and gave him a filling! I think his mark of 129 is fair, especially considering the runner-up won at Newbury next time and went on to run a good second off 122 in a competitive Sandown handicap hurdle. I think he will go well.

    16:35 Aintree - Unioniste

    Won a 2m2f chase in the heavy at Auteuil by 12 lengths in May, and that race has worked out pretty well, with the second and fourth winning since. But I wouldn't get too carried away with the form. Is a half-brother to My Will and a decent prospect and I am certainly not ruling him out here - though Carlito Brigante will clearly take a lot of beating - but I suspect he is one who will progress with experience throughout the season. Is a typical Dom Alco, in that he is no morning glory.

    16:50 Chepstow - Tataniano

    Is a lot like Rebel Rebellion, who won for us after a lay-off at Exeter in the week, in that he is a talented horse with very fragile legs. Actually, when I say talented, that probably massively understates his ability as I thought he would develop into a Champion Chase horse after beating Osana by 13 lengths at Aintree in April 2010. But the fact that he has had only three starts since underlines his fragility. But he was very impressive when winning this race by 8 lengths last season, and is in good order. He is 3lb higher today and I think he may find 2m4f more of his trip this season, but I have to be hopeful.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Lester's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Wonderful Charm impressive yesterday.

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