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In his Betfair column, top trainer Paul Nicholls gives readers the lowdown on his Saturday runners.
12.30 Cheltenham – Hell Red
The slower the ground the better for Hell Red who won readily on his debut for us at Chepstow a month ago.
His jumping was slick that day and the good thing is that he doesn’t get a penalty for that success.
While this Grade 2 is obviously tougher I do rate Hell Red who seems to be improving so I am hopeful of a big run.
1.40 Cheltenham – Quel Destin
He won nicely on the flat at Bath a month ago which was an ideal warm up for his chasing debut in this.
We know Quel Destin likes Cheltenham and his schooling over fences has been good at home in recent weeks.
Although he has won eight times at the minimum trip I always think in the back of my mind that he really wants two and a half miles and as long as he jumps well then two miles should be fine.
He’s tough, reliable and the top rated of these over hurdles so I’m quite upbeat about his chances.
Trainer Paul Nicholls pictured at Kempton Park
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2.15 Cheltenham – Saint Sonnet
We like to think he has improved this time round because he was pretty lean and mean when he arrived from France in mid-season after four quick runs.
We freshened him up before he won a little race at Catterick at the end of February and he then ran an encouraging race in the Marsh Chase at the Festival.
I’ve had the Paddy Power Gold in mind for him ever since.
Saint Sonnet has had a perfect preparation since coming back into training at the start of July, he should be very fit and a mark of 147 is fair enough without being a gift.
I did plan to give him a pop over hurdles at Chepstow a month ago but took him out because the ground was too quick.
He is an improving five-year-old and I couldn’t be happier with him.
2.15 Cheltenham – Brelan D’As
Jonjo O’Neill junior partners Brelan d’As and if he rides him as well as he rode Modus at Aintree last Saturday I will be thrilled.
Brelan D'As (left) finished a close second to Happy Diva in the feature race at Cheltenham's meeting last year
Brelan d’As goes well fresh, was a close second in the race a year ago and is very fit so he looks to have a decent each-way chance at a nice price.
11.52 Uttoxeter – Lucky One
He is another of the team transferred to me this summer from Ireland by Jared Sullivan and was much too free on his debut for us at Hereford last month.
He tanked through the race and was still in contention at the second last before weakening out of it.
We are still finding out about Lucky One who needs to learn to settle and should be happier racing left-handed at Uttoxeter.
One of Nicholls' Saturday team Quel Destin (centre, green sleeves) won a race on the Flat on October 14, 2020
12.22 Uttoxeter – Roque It
He is a nice horse by Presenting who won a bumper for Olly Murphy 20 months ago at Huntingdon.
I like what I’ve seen so far from Roque It who is going well but will improve for the experience on his first start over hurdles.
Best chance: Hell Red. He made the perfect start for us at Chepstow and has good claims in a better race at Cheltenham.