Paul Nicholls has nine runners at Aintree and Wincanton on Sunday including star chaser Frodon and an exciting prospect in the form of Eritage...
"Soft ground at Aintree would improve Frodon's chances because stamina is not an issue and he is fit enough to do himself justice."
- Paul Nicholls on Frodon
Trip should suit
12:40 - Grey Getaway
Joined the yard after finishing second in an Irish point-to-point for Denis Murphy and just needed the run when a bit disappointing on his debut for us in a bumper at Kempton in March. I now think that was probably because he was not suited by two miles on good ground on a sharp track. While he should he happier over this trip of two and a half miles on easier ground I see him as one for the future.
Fit enough to do himself justice
15:00 - Frodon
We were running out of superlatives for Frodon at the end of an incredible season of sustained achievement. He has been an absolute star for us and seems in cracking form as he returns to Aintree to try win this race for the second year running. He is a joy to train and was in typically lively form when he galloped round Wincanton with Clan Des Obeaux nine days ago. Soft ground at Aintree would improve Frodon's chances because stamina is not an issue and he is fit enough to do himself justice. Although he will improve for the outing ahead of his challenge for the Betfair Chase at Haydock in a month's time I am expecting a big show from him.
Hoping for a good run
16:10 - Cill Anna
She is a nice big, strong, scopey filly we were keen to buy at the Goffs Aintree sale after she won her only point-to-point on very soft ground in Ireland for Colin Bowe. She created quite an impression that day, making most of the running and battling on well in the closing stages. I am hoping she will run well in this before going to Cheltenham for the Listed mares' bumper on November 16.
Still learning about new recruit
13:35 - Soldier of Love
This is his first run for me and his first run over fences so I'm looking forward to seeing how he gets on. He joined us in the summer and won a three mile handicap hurdle for Fergal O'Brien in the spring off a mark of 105. I am still learning about Soldier of Love who is 8 lbs higher now but is lightly raced so there should be more to come from him.
Excited about running him
14:10 - Zyon
I do like Zyon who showed a great deal of promise when he was a close third in a classy bumper at Ascot behind Emitom on his only start for us. When he then picked up a minor injury we made the decision to draw stumps for the season. I'm sure he has benefited for the time off and see him progressing as a staying novice hurdler this winter. He has done plenty of schooling and I'm excited about running him.
Welsh National a possibility for stout stayer
14:45 - Captain Cattistock
The softer the ground the better for Captain Cattistock who never looked back last season after switching to chasing in January, winning at Exeter and Fontwell. He jumps soundly, has bags of stamina and could possibly be one for the Coral Welsh National at Christmas. Although he has joint top weight he loves Wincanton and hopefully has a good chance.
Goes well fresh but rain a concern
14:45 - Coup de Pinceau
He really needs good ground so I will check the going in the morning and could possibly pull him out if they have had too much rain. He struggled a bit in graded company last season after winning his first two starts but then finished off with a decent effort in a handicap at Warwick. Coup de Pinceau does go well fresh but all the rain over the past 24 hours is a concern.
Should get more involved today
15:20 - Sir Psycho
We have put some cheek pieces on Sir Psycho in the hope that they sharpen him up after his recent run at Chepstow where he was a bit lazy through the race before finishing fourth. He jumped a shade carefully at times there and, like a few of mine this season, may just have needed the run. He should be more involved this time.
Ideal opportunity for exciting prospect
15:55 - Eritage
He is an exciting prospect who performed with great credit on his two starts for us last season. He was third on his British debut at Exeter behind the highly rated Get In The Queue, then built on that promise by making all the running to win at Wincanton. While Eritage probably wants further, his schooling has been good ahead of his first start over hurdles and this is an ideal opportunity for him on ground that he will enjoy.
*Best chance: Eritage 15.55 Wincanton