Paul Nicholls at Cheltenham: Grand Sancy could get our Festival off to a flyer

Betfair Ambassador Paul Nicholls
Paul Nicholls has a trio of solid chances on the first day of the Cheltenham Festival

Paul Nicholls fields just three on the first day of the Festival, but the trio all have chances of giving the Betfair Ambassador another big-race winner...

"Grand Sancy is a tough and hardy character who handles any ground, is still improving and his mark of 152 puts him right in the mix in this."

Sancy coyuld star in the Supreme

Supreme Novices' Hurdle, 13:30 - Grand Sancy

Has been a star for us this season, winning four times and putting up a top performance recently to win the Kingwell Hurdle, giving weight to older horses and keeping on gamely.

He has progressed markedly from the autumn, was then fourth in the Betfair Hurdle at Ascot before Xmas and gave Elixir De Nutz a fright in the Tolworth which came quicker than ideal after Ascot.

Grand Sancy is a tough and hardy character who handles any ground, is still improving and his mark of 152 puts him right in the mix in this.

In a wide open race he has as good a chance as any of them.

Copper shining bright ahead of his target race

14:50 - Give Me A Copper

I was thrilled with his comeback run at Sandown after a long lay off with an injury. He jumped from fence to fence, travelled like a dream and looked the most likely winner until tiring going to two out. He has come on no end for that run which is what I expected and has improved massively in his work.

This race has been the target ever since, his mark is fair and if things go well then he will head to Aintree for the Grand National.

I gave Give Me A Copper an entry in the Gold Cup and who knows, it is possible that could be his target in 12 months time.

While he is a bit fragile, he is in seriously good order at home and went so well on Saturday that his rider Matt Hampton couldn't pull him up at the end of the gallop. Big chance.

Don't write off my Close Brothers contender

16:50 - Movewiththetimes

It's frustrating that he hasn't yet won over fences because he is a talented horse and has a decent race in him.

He contested some hot novice chases last season before his jumping let him down at the Festival a year ago when we thought he would go well.

It has been the same story this season as he unseated Barry Geraghty at Fakenham in October and then was a bit unlucky to fall at the last fence in the BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham in November when lying fourth.

We have done plenty of schooling with Movewiththetimes and if he can get into a nice rhythm then he is well capable of running a tidy race.

Best chance

Grand Sancy each way. Doesn't have the sexy profile of a couple of the favourites but keeps delivering.


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