After not sending out many runners of late Betfair Ambassador Paul Nicholls is hoping to land a few winners with his eight chances at Sandown and Musselburgh on Saturday...
"Best Chance: Christopher Wood - 14:05 Musselburgh. The form of his last run at Kempton is strong and conditions look ideal for him."
Hoping for a big run on hat-trick bid
He has won this two mile handicap Chase for the past two years and is in tip top shape as he goes for the hat-trick. He has run really well in defeat in his two starts at Cheltenham this season and although he is on a career high mark of 158 which makes him vulnerable we know he loves Sandown so I'm hopeful of another big run.
Up to the task with longer trip to his liking
I am really excited by Hitman who stayed on strongly when second to Allmankind at this track on his second start over fences and will be well suited by the step up in trip to two and a half miles. It's a really good race as you would expect of a Grade 1 Chase and he does lack experience but he is improving all the time and is definitely up to the task.
Mad fresh despite busy schedule and will love conditions
He was due to run in this race at Cheltenham last Saturday before it was called off and it has to be in his favour that he has had an extra week since his fine victory in the Portman Cup at Taunton a fortnight ago. On the face of it he has had a busy schedule but you wouldn't know it the way he behaves at home. He is mad fresh and almost ran away with Bryony Frost in a schooling session on Wednesday. While Yala Enki has it all to do on ratings he is a tough, relentless galloper and will relish testing conditions at Sandown. He will have a nice break after this and then go for the Midlands Grand National.
In good shape so hoping for a much better run
He was probably flattered by his success in a race at Newbury late in 2019. The form hasn't worked out and he's arguably still a bit too high in the handicap. Things certainly haven't gone his way so far this season. I shouldn't have run him first time at Wincanton on ground quicker than he wants and then he wasn't at his best in the Ladbroke Chase at Newbury. I've freshened Danny up since then, he's in good shape now, fit and well and I'm hopeful of a much better show from him in first time cheek pieces.
Nice chance with flat track set to suit
Although Getaway Trump has won twice over fences this season he has come up short at the highest level and I ran him too soon at Newbury last time after his latest success at Fakenham. I've freshened him up since then, this is more his level, and we know he is suited by a flat track like Musselburgh. I think he has a nice chance.
Leading chance no matter how soft it gets
I thought he ran a cracker last time at Kempton where he finished a good second giving almost a stone to Cadzand, a horse of Dan Skelton's that looked very well handicapped. Christopher Wood won at this track a year ago, continues to please at home and with Angus Cheleda taking off a valuable 7lbs he must have a leading chance. He will not mind however soft it gets at Musselburgh.
Stiff enough mark for stable debut
He won several chases in France before finishing second over hurdles to Sir Psycho in the mud at Haydock just over a year ago. We are still learning about Rockadenn who had a wind op just before Christmas and looks to me as though he might be on a stiff enough handicap mark of 141. He's ready to go now and this looks a good opportunity to make his debut for us.
Claimers gets a good tune out of him
He won a Hunter Chase last season, fell when poised to add another at Ludlow and then finished finished ninth in the Foxhunters at Cheltenham so should be competitive in this despite carrying a penalty. Once again the 7lbs claim of Angus Cheleda is quite a bonus. He rode Alcala in all four starts last season and gets a good tune out of him. Good chance.