Paul Nicholls at Cheltenham: The exclusive verdict on my five Day One runners

Five runners for Paul Nicholls on Day One at Cheltenham
Five runners for Paul Nicholls on Day One at Cheltenham

Paul Nicholls is sending a strong team to Cheltenham this week including a number with strong chances on Day One. Here are the Betfair Ambassador's exclusive thoughts on each of his five Tuesday runners at the Festival...

"I've kept him fresh, he stays well, has course experience, a top jockey Will Biddick on his back and all his best form is on good ground. He looks to be a big player each way at a massive price."

14:50 - Southfield Theatre

Has finished second at the last two Festivals, looks better than he has all season and the drying ground is very much in his favour. Southfield Theatre was out of form earlier in the winter like a few of ours and may have taken time to get over a nasty leg injury he sustained when finishing an excellent runner up to Don Poli in the RSA a year ago. A mark of 150 suggests he is not badly handicapped on that run and he is definitely not without a chance here.


16:10 - Tara Point

It has been a battle to get Tara Point right since she suffered a hairline fracture to her tibia in the autumn but she has come on bundles in the last six weeks and has looked better and better in three away-day racecourse gallops. While she has done a lot of graft ideally I'd have like another fortnight to put her spot on. Tara Point is a really nice talented mare and is sparkling now, but it is going to be tough for her first time up against horses that have been racing all season. If she was ten kilos lighter I would be happier.


16:50 - Vicente

This has been his aim since he was successful at Cheltenham in the autumn. He has won three times over fences, stays forever and the handicapper must be impressed as he makes him our highest rated novice chaser. If he is right then Vicente has a serious chance here. I've kept him fresh, he stays well, has course experience, a top jockey Will Biddick on his back and all his best form is on good ground. He looks to be a big player each way at a massive price.


17:30 - two runners

Bouvreuil

He ran well in the Henry V111 Chase before beating Vyto Du Roc fair and square at Doncaster where he jumped very well. Bouvreuil was then patently outpaced over two miles last time at Doncaster when he was left well behind by some speedsters. This race has been the target all season, the trip is perfect and his preparation could not have gone better. Nice chance.

Katgary

Was unlucky not to win the Fred Winter two years ago when he was nearly brought down and ran a cracker last time at Doncaster when he led almost to the last fence, and briefly looked like winning a three-horse race won by the smart Volnay de Thaix. Katgary has also won well at Fakenham and while this is a whole lot tougher I've deliberately kept him away from the worst of the winter ground. He does has a fair bit to find but I wouldn't be shocked to see him there in the mix going to two out.


You can read my thoughts on my Day 2 Runners at Cheltenham behind the link.

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