Paul Nicholls: The verdict on my Saturday runners at Cheltenham and Kelso

Paul Nicholls has six runners at Cheltenham and Kelson on Saturday
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Paul Nicholls has runners at two meetings on Saturday afternoon and has some lively chances at both, and here the Betfair Ambassador gives the exclusive lowdown on all his chances...

"As he is only a novice until the end of this month it makes sense to let him take his chance in this valuable race where he is well treated by the conditions. Big chance."

- Paul Nicholls on Alcala


14:00 - Southfield Vic

Took a while to get the hang of jumping fences but showed what he could do by winning impressively in April and May once he tackled decent ground.

His finest day came at Newton Abbot in May when he routed a good field of handicappers with the help of a fine ride by Bryony Frost.

Southfield Vic will not find things so easy now under his stiff new mark of 145. So while ground conditions are in his favour, he goes well fresh and Bryony claims a handy 5lbs allowance, I fear he has it all to do at the weights.

He will be going home for the winter after this.

15:10 - Le Prezien

A horse we have always liked, he was again a rock solid performer for us for most of last season, winning a Grade 2 Novice Chase at Cheltenham before landing a valuable graduation chase at Exeter.

His form tailed off towards the end of the campaign and his jumping let him down at Punchestown.

But Le Prezien is fine now, is ready to start and this race should tell us if we stay at two miles with him or step him up to two and a half miles.

15:45 - Connetable

Found it difficult to get his head in front last season after a promising juvenile campaign although he did manage to win a novice chase.

He did show a bit more on his final run of the campaign at Ayr but was then disappointing on his comeback run at Newton Abbot 15 days ago.

He looks to me to be on a tough handicap mark of 135 over hurdles and needs to be dropped a fair few pounds if he is to become competitive over staying trips.

16:20 - Alcala

He was so unlucky at Chepstow last time when he was seeking to win his sixth chase on the bounce.

He was bowling along in the lead, jumping for fun and was full of running until he slipped and came down on the final bend.

Finian's Oscar was left to pick up the pieces but he was some way behind when it happened and I felt he would have needed to sprout wings to catch Alcala. I was pleased and relieved to find that Alcala was fine afterwards and he continues to please at home.

As he is only a novice until the end of this month it makes sense to let him take his chance in this valuable race where he is well treated by the conditions. Big chance.


14:25 - Give Me A Copper

Is an exciting horse who showed bags of promise last season, winning twice over hurdles. A winning Irish point-to-pointer he wasn't quite right when beaten in the River Don Novices' Hurdle at Doncaster.

While Give Me A Copper is quick enough for two and a half miles he shapes as though he will be a strong stayer.

He has real battling qualities, and I am very much looking forward to his debut over fences at Kelso though he does need to gain experience as his schooling at home has not always been foot perfect.

15:00 - As De Mee

A superb jumper whose finest hour came with victory at Aintree in the Grand Sefton Chase with a spectacular display over the National fences ridden by Sean Bowen who resumes the partnership here.

As De Mee's jumping was again brilliant on his return to action at Fontwell 22 days ago where he kept on well in the closing stages so we are upping him in trip here to see if he stays more than three miles.

If he shows he has sufficient stamina then we can look at the Beecher Chase for him at Aintree in December and maybe think about giving him entry in the Grand National in April.

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