The gospel according to Paul
It is a decade since the likes of Denman and Kauto Star were winning Gold Cups for Paul Nicholls. And while he has still been winning plenty of races, he has possibly been short of a real superstar. But is that about to change?
The Ditcheat handler won eight races across the country last Saturday and two of his winners look very handy indeed.
Too early to dream?
In fact Cyrname was so good that his performance has put him 3lb ahead of Altior. I don’t think he is as good as the Champion Chaser but we may soon find out as they may meet at Sandown in April. Is it too early to dream of them both going to the King George this Christmas?
Clan Des Obeaux won as expected and has run to the same RPR as when winning the King George. Despite what Matt Chapman says I think he has a chance in the Gold Cup.
Grand Sancy improved again when winning the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton to give Nicholls his fourth victory in the race. The winner is still at double figure odds for the Supreme which, as ever, looks a very competitive heat.
We had to say goodbye to an old favourite when it was announced that Coneygree will now be retired. He led for two thirds of the Keltbrey Swinley Chase and jumped in his usual bold way, but when the taps were turned on he just didn’t havethe legs.
But we will never forget his Gold Cup win, which he achieved as a novice, after winning the Denman Chase and, before that, spread-eagling the field in the Feltham on Boxing Day.
It has been a great story involving the small stable of Mark and Sara Bradstock and the legendary Lord Oaksey. And had he not suffered so many injury problems he could well have become a legend. For many he already is.
Al Dancer looked very good in winning the Betfair Hurdle and has been cut for the Supreme ahead of Angels Breath, who is in the same ownership. I did give a mention to the runner up, Magic Dancer, however my headline tip, Lisp, was never a factor.
I watched the race again and noticed he did take a false step after the third last so may have clipped heels. I think he has a chance in the County Hurdle although his trainer, Alan King, has intimated he is also a possible for the Coral Cup over further.
Perceived wisdom is that Grand National winners do not win after their big day. This is possibly why 2018 hero Tiger Roll went off at 25/1 for the Grade Two Boyne Hurdle. But he won anyway.
His next two runs will see him defending his Cross Country title at Cheltenham and then bid to become the first horse since Red Rum to follow up in the Aintree feature. He is some horse.
Finally. Monalee won the Red Mills Chase and looks to be headed for the Ryanair. That Thursday card at Cheltenham looks top notch. I am getting a wee bit excited.