Paul Nicholls at Cheltenham: Frodon goes to the Ryanair in sparkling form
Betfair Ambassador Paul Nicholls has a big chance in the Ryanair Chase on day three of the Cheltenham Festival while he also has good opportunities elsewhere on the card...
"I've kept him fresh for this and he arrives at Cheltenham in sparkling form. I can't wait to see how he gets on."
- Paul Nicholls on Frodon
Improving sort who could run into a place
JLT Novices' Chase 13:30 - Capeland
Runs here in preference to the Arkle on Tuesday as I think two and a half miles will suit him better.
He has been wonderfully consistent all season finishing in the first two each time and he again ran very well last time at Chepstow after a little procedure to help his breathing. Capeland looked like winning again at Chepstow going to the last fence but was just run out of it on the flat by Eamon An Cnoic who is an improving chaser.
Capeland's mark has risen from 127 in June to 144 and I could see him running into a place if he handles the ground.
Keeps delivering and still improving
Ryanair Chase 14:50 - Frodon
I did enter him in the Gold Cup before deciding this was the better option for him over a course and distance where he excels. I'm sure it is the right thing to do if you are looking at his best chance of winning.
Frodon is a marvel who keeps delivering and he is still improving as he is only seven. He is on a mark of 169 now which puts him up with the best, he loves the track and will get the trip strongly.
He made all the running in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup and then won the Cotswold Chase despite idling a bit in front in the closing stages. I left plenty to work on and that is why he got a little tired in the closing stages.
I've kept him fresh for this and he arrives at Cheltenham in sparkling form. I can't wait to see how he gets on.
Drop in trip but ground might not suit
Brown Advisory Plate 16:10 - Modus
He was a smart novice last season until deep ground at both spring festivals prevented him showing his best form. Modus then started this season well with a spirited defeat of Duke of Navan at Cheltenham over two miles, rallying strongly to regain the lead close home.
Things haven't been easy for him since then and he seemed to find three miles beyond him last time at Kempton. So we are bringing him back in trip now but this does look extremely competitive and I've always felt he is at his best on good ground.
My other entry, Romain De Senam, is unlikely to run as the ground has gone against him.
Classy mare is one of my best chances of the week
Mares Novices' Hurdle 16:50 - Posh Trish
Posh Trish is a smasher, a lovely mare who is one of the highest rated novice hurdlers and has bags of experience having won four times over hurdles. She is classy, tries hard and will love the soft ground at Cheltenham. You could argue that she would be suited by running over a bit further but we plan to make plenty of use of her.
I've deliberately not run her in recent weeks as she had a busy time in the closing weeks of 2018, goes well fresh and is battle hardened.
While it's not ideal that she has to give 5lbs to the favourite Epatante I still think she has a great shout and see her as one of my best chances of the week.
Drying ground would aid his chance
Kim Muir Chase 17:30 - Touch Kick
I was pleased to see Touch Kick squeeze into this race as he was right on the borderline at the five day stage. He has progressed nicely this season after we had to draw stumps with him once he picked up an injury at Kempton at Christmas, 2017.
He won nicely on his return at Hereford in November and just came on top in a tight battle with Diplomate Sivola on soft ground at Hereford last time. The point-to-point Champion Will Biddick takes the ride on Touch Kick who could run a nice race if the winds help dry out the going.
*Best chance. Frodon in the Ryanair. At the peak of his powers going for another win at the track that suits him so well.