Nicholls Gives Us the Lowdown on his Stable Stars Ahead of New Season
The tussle between Paul Nicholls and Nicky Henderson for the number one spot in British national hunt race will continue shortly when the new jumps season gets underway next month. Both Nicholls and Henderson appear to have an abundance of fire power once again, and Nicholls in particular showed us all last season that he has a number of young novice horses who look set to move up this season and challenge for major honours. In a media day over the weekend, the star handler explained that all was well with a number of his top prospects, and he outlined exactly where he will be sending them when they return to action this winter.
Cyrname and Altior Set for Possible Ascot Clash
The star of the stable, and the one that many people will be looking forward to seeing is Cyrname and Nicholls was very upbeat about his chances. We have seen him to great effect over two miles going left handed, but his liking for a left handed course meant we never got the Cheltenham clash we wanted between him and Altior. However, early reports from both the Nicholls and Henderson camp suggest that both horses are heading towards a meeting at Ascot, which would be a great early season battle and something everyone would want to see.
To add even further intrigue to the clash, it would be a step up in trip for both as the begin plans to have a tilt at the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day. The race in question at Ascot would be the Christy 1965 Chase, which is ran over 2m5f and would be the ideal stepping stone to the King George.
If you believe the handicapper then there is nothing to choose between Cyrname and Altior, with the first mentioned just one pound better than Altior officially. It is likely the race will come down to who stays and relishes their new trip the best, and what an exciting race that one could be.
Topofthegame Looks Ideal Gold Cup Horse
Paul Nicholls knows what it takes to win a Gold Cup having trained many winners of the race including Kauto Star and Denman. He thinks he may have another live contender on his hands this season, and with his record in the race it would be foolish to ignore this.
The horse in question is Topofthegame, who made a very likeable impression last season when novice chasing, a campaign that included a win in the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, a race seen as the best novice staying chase in the calendar.
His first target will be the Ladbrokes Trophy at the end of November at Newbury, a race which is a handicap. However, we have seen this used as a stepping stone for many horses in the past who then go onto run in the top graded contests so it is no surprise. Nicholls himself has won the Ladbrokes Trophy with Denman, who carried top weight to victory so it is a race he has fond memories of, and in some ways, although we are yet to see it in terms of class, as far as running style goes, this horse reminds us all of Denman.
Best of the Rest
As for some of the other names from the yard, Getaway Trump has been highlighted as a potentially top class novice chaser for the new season, and that is now where his future will lie. He looked a nice prospect over hurdles but chasing was always going to be where he came to life and the reports about him are strong from his trainer.
Two older chasers who have also had favourable mentions are Politologue, who will go to Sandown to try and win another Tingle Creek chase at the beginning of December and Dynamite Dollars, a horse who will eventually head to the Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival next May.
Nicholls will once again go to war with an impressive team this coming season, and the above names will be the ones he is relying on for success. The new national hunt season is now just a month away, and it is almost time for gamblers to begin focusing on that code of racing.