Paul Nicholls – Straight From The Trainers Mouth 2016

On a busy old week, we were lucky enough to get the opportunity to visit Paul Nicholls yard to talk to the Champion trainer, and see if we could glean any decent information ahead of the Cheltenham Festival in mid March.

Nicky Henderson on Monday was pretty selective with the horses we saw and discussed, whereas Paul very kindly bombarded us with horses and information, so common sense suggests we list those them with comments so we can all see what exactly is going on!

Politologue – one of our Twitter followers asked about this one which is interesting as he led him out to start our media morning. A stunning grey, he had a very easy prep race at Exeter in what was little more than an exercise canter and will head off to the Coral Cup at Cheltenham as opposed to the Neptune (though he keeps is entry just in case), though long term Paul sees him as likely to make up in to a very nice novice chaser next season.

Saphir Du Rheu – has top class form over fences and hurdles is there for all to see, though his trainer is adamant we haven’t seen the best of him this season. he is “very very pleased with him” and will now send him to the World Hurdle, though he will go back over fences next season, and given good ground, his handler thinks he arrives with a very decent chance after a minor soft palate operation to assist his breathing.

Paul Nicholls and Saphir Du Rheu -

Le Mercurey – heads to the RSA Chase or the Ultima Handicap after running his best race in defeat when giving weight away last time out behind Vyta Du Roc. He would prefer softer going to be seen at his best but to be honest, we failed to note too much confidence.

All Yours – described by his handler as a “spring horse”, they even thought about a crack at the Champion hurdle with the son of Halling but have decided to aim for the County Hurdle instead but is he well handicapped? Officially, the weights aren’t out until next Wednesday but they have a good idea where he is and on good ground they seem to think he can run a massive race at a good price.

Connetable – a likeable four year old on target for the Triumph Hurdle that should suit his running style with the likely fast pace bringing his stamina in to play. Pail cannot pick between his top  four year olds so we are tempted to simply mention them all!

Frodon – also heading to the Triumph though may be diverted to the Fred Winter with a claimer on board to reduce the weight.

Tommy Silver – Another of the four possible Triumph horses, but Paul really seems to like the son of Silver Cross and is one to keep in mind for the future, His last race was a win at Musselburgh but perhaps not an impressive one on the form book, but there is a lot more to come and is expected to turn out to be really decent.

Dodging Bullets – what can we add about last season’s Champion Chaser? He looks an absolute picture and works so well at home that he may have needed his come back race more than they thought, and will run a big race in an attempt to defend his crown, though defeating Un Des Sceaux may not be that easy, and even his trainer acknowledges that fact.

Dodging Bullets Champion Chaser - copyright

Vibrato Valtat – His trainer thinks he is just a touch short of pace at the highest level over two miles but is looking forward to trying him over further in the Ryanair which could be very interesting indeed. If he fails to stay so be it, but if he does, he has a bit of class about him and we felt that Paul thinks deep down that he has a decent each way chance.

Aux Ptits Soin – This season World Hurdle is still on the cards but an interrupted season suggests that he may not quite be ready and would be “a big ask”. That said, he clearly thinks an awful lot of the horse and even suggested (maybe tongue in cheek, maybe not) that he will be top class over fences and a possible Gold Cup runner, making him another for the long term notebook.

Old Guard – As his trainer pointed out, if he had missed out Kempton (where he hated the track and ran poorly) then his hurdler would have a three out of three record for the season, all at Cheltenham, and would be a lot shorter for the Champion Hurdle than the 25/1 you can get this afternoon. Paul suggested he “has an outside chance of making the frame” but would not want the ground too soft, though as things stand, the forecast suggests good going which may see him sneak in to third at a massive price.


All Yours seems a solid Each Way bet for the County Hurdle and one we will be considering strongly at current odds of 25/1, although we will be waiting for the Cheltenham weights declarations next week.  Long term, there’s plenty to look forward to for fans of Aux Ptits Soin and Tommy Silver who both seem likely to pay their way over the years ahead with a touch of the obligatory luck, of course.

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