Paul Nicholls: The verdict on my Aintree and Wincanton runners on Sunday
Paul Nicholls has one runner at Aintree and six at Wincanton on Sunday afternoon and here he talks exclusively to Betfair about each of their chances...
"Ridgeway Flyer has already won over three miles and should get the extra distance in this. So with only a handful of opponents on ground he enjoys and a purse of almost £27,000 we thought he might as well have a go."
Positive show expected from hard-trying Frodon
15:00 - Frodon
He is a wonderful horse who always tries hard, is in very good order at home and is better off giving weight in handicaps than taking on the best at level weights. He couldn't quite make it at Grade 1 level last season but put up a massive performance in a valuable handicap on trials day at Cheltenham when routing his rivals by 17 lengths under top weight. Bryony Frost rode him that day and claims a handy 3lbs in this. I am expecting another positive show. Frodon jumps so well I've always wanted to run him over the National fences and this season might be the season to try it.
Fences beckon for Bubble
13:00 - Bubble O'Clock
It was disappointing that he didn't live up to expectations last season and wasn't seeing out his races after travelling well for a long way. Hopefully he is stronger now after a long summer break and can start repaying our faith in him. I see his future over fences after this run to blow the cobwebs away.
Hoping for improvement now tackling fences
13:35 - Stradivarius Davis
Is another of ours who has needed time and wasn't always finishing his races although he did win over two and a half miles at this track in decent fashion which earned him an unrealistic mark of 130. He was then beaten at odds-on next time. As he is better going right handed and appreciates good ground we are looking for Stradivarius Davis to take a step forward now before he switches to chasing.
Breathing operation will hopefully help Darling
14:10 - Darling Maltaix
Was a bit too headstrong for his own good last season and is still a maiden over hurdles despite a much improved effort on his final run at Wincanton when he wasn't beaten far in third place. He has had a breathing op and I am hoping that will help him chill out and relax more in his races. The plan was always to send him chasing this season, he jumps nicely and this novice handicap looks an ideal starting point for him.
Nice purse to go for on ground he enjoys
14:45 - Ridgeway Flyer
Made the perfect start for us over fences last season, winning at Plumpton and Taunton before sustaining a pelvic injury that prevented him running again. Although he is a bit fragile he is fine now after having his palate cauterised in the summer. Ridgeway Flyer has already won over three miles and should get the extra distance in this. So with only a handful of opponents on ground he enjoys and a purse of almost £27,000 we thought he might as well have a go.
Progressive Dancer should go very well
15:20 - Rhythm Is A Dancer
He showed bags of promise in two decent bumpers at Kempton in the spring before winning impressively on his third start at Exeter where we employed more positive tactics. A progressive young horse he has schooled nicely at home over hurdles, wants good ground and while he is still quite green he should go very well in a limited field of only five runners.
Honest horse should run a good race
16:30 - Volpone Jelois
Tough and consistent he never seems to run a bad race on the flat or over jumps and rarely finishes out of the money. Although Volpone Jelois is only five he has already run 47 times and has been busy again on the flat, winning at Chepstow in May ridden by my daughter Megan. More recently he was third at this track nine days ago ridden by our claimer Alex Thorne who has also won on him. I expect him to run his usual honest race here and be in the frame again in a slightly lower grade this time.