Paul Nicholls: Cyrname has lots in his favour for repeat Charlie Hall success

Paul Nicholls and Frodon
Paul Nicholls has many chances on Saturday including Frodon in Ireland

It's a big Saturday for Paul Nicholls who has runners across three cards, including stable stars Cyrname at Wetherby and Frodon at Down Royal...

"Best Chance: Cyrname - 15:05 Wetherby. Won this race in style a year ago and again has plenty in his favour."


Very fit and has a good chance

13:55 - Miranda

I wouldn't mind seeing plenty of rain for Miranda who has been a big success story for the Owners Group. She has won five times for them, is very fit, having done plenty of work ahead of this race and looks to have a nice chance.

Could be competitive stepped up in trip

14:30 - Master Tommytucker

I've been wanting for a while to try him at three miles and this looks an ideal opportunity over hurdles as it is hard enough to find races for him over fences off his current mark of 160. He has to start somewhere and it obviously helps that he isn't lumbered with any penalties. The return to hurdles will not do him any harm and I have a feeling he is crying out for this step up in trip. I did the same a few years ago with Tidal Bay and he won it. I expect Tommy to be competitive.

In a better place than this time last year

15:05 - Cyrname

He is back at Wetherby to defend his crown in the Charlie Hall Chase after a cracking success in this race a year ago. He looked right back to his best in beating Vinndication that day, then underperformed twice subsequently before we gave him a wind op.

I'm convinced that Cyrname is at his peak when fresh so this race was the obvious choice to kick start his season. He looks great and it's encouraging that Scott Marshall who rides him every day says he is in a better place than this time last year. The flat track at Wetherby certainly suits Cyrname who is clear top on ratings. This is the day that matters for him.


Still young and down to a realistic handicap mark

13:35 - Solo

He is a definite runner as long as torrents of rain don't turn the ground soft at Ascot. He is still only five and I'm looking forward to seeing him start over fences because his schooling at home has been good. It's fair to say he has to put some disappointing runs behind him but he is down to a more realistic handicap now and has also benefited from a wind op over the summer.

Tough tasks for both

14:10 - Bathsheba Bay & Wild Max

Bathsheba Bay won twice over hurdles a couple of seasons ago and looks in good nick but has been off for 616 days so there has to be a chance he will just need this. I've done as much as I can with him at home and was looking to run him at Chepstow three weeks ago until the ground dried up. He will be ridden by Tom Buckley, a talented young jockey who joined me recently. Bathsheba Bay has a tidy weight but I'd say whatever he does at Ascot he is bound to improve for the outing.

Wild Max probably has a stiff enough task off his mark of 145 but he does go well fresh and Angus Cheleda's 7lbs claim comes in handy. Angus gets a good tune out of Wild Max who had a wind op over the summer.

Might be up against it off current mark

14:45 - Getaway Trump

He was very consistent last season, winning three times over fences, and actually beat Galvin over hurdles at Ayr in 2019. He goes well for Lorcan Williams who gave him a supremely confident ride when they won at Doncaster in the spring. But Getaway Trump is another of mine who wouldn't want too much rain at Ascot and I suspect he is up against it in handicaps at the moment off his current mark.

Still looks too high in the handicap

15:20 - Real Steel

He was dropped 4lbs after finishing in the rear at Chepstow. He needed the run there and is better going right handed but on what I've seen and on what he has done since joining us I'm sure he is still too high in the handicap to be competitive. He hasn't really clicked for us but hopefully we can find a nice handicap for him in the spring when he is on a more realistic mark.


Will improve for the experience

15:55 - Kandoo Kid

He is lovely prospect who needed a bit of time and was placed twice in decent company on winter ground before winning his bumper at Taunton in April. While his schooling has been sound at home he is likely to improve for the experience on his first attempt over hurdles.

Nice horse and we're expecting a decent show

17:05 - Holetown Hero

Our team of bumper horses has been going well and he is another promising type from our production line at Ditcheat. He is owned like Bathsheba Bay and Kandoo Kid by Michael Geoghegan and is named after an area in Barbados where Michael enjoys spending time. Holetown Hero is a nice horse with a lovely pedigree and has been working most days with Henri The Second who hacked up at Chepstow on Tuesday. So I'm hopeful of a decent show from him provided the ground doesn't get too soft at Ascot.

Fit and well for Frodon's Down Royal challenge

14:50 - Frodon

He is a legend of a horse who started last season with a bold front running victory at Cheltenham off a mark of 164, then put up the performance of his life in winning the King George at Kempton and rounded off an unbelievable season with a stirring success in the Oaksey Chase at Sandown.

Bryony Frost gets on brilliantly with Frodon who is taking on a new challenge in the Grade 1 Ladbrokes Champion Chase at Down Royal. He is in top form and was full of enthusiasm when we took him for an away day in Lambourn recently for a change of routine. He is fit, fresh and well but there are two mountains in the way in the shape of Galvin and the Gold Cup winner Minella Indo.

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