Paul Nicholls

Paul Nicholls: Freddie and Diego are a promising combo at Ascot

Betfair ambassador Paul Nicholls
Paul has eight runners on the card at Ascot this Saturday

Betfair Ambassador Paul Nicholls provides exclusive insight on his eight runners at Ascot on Saturday...

  • Paul's vital views on his Ascot eight
  • Diego runs in race he won in 2019
  • Several go well fresh
  • Others will need the run
  • One or two could surprise

Plenty of positives for nice jumper

13:30 - Samarrive

He did very well to win two valuable handicaps last season and now goes over fences at Ascot. He jumps nicely, doesn't want the ground too soft and is better racing right-handed so there are plenty of positives. But he is running from 3lbs out of the handicap because of the conditions of the race with Goshen on top weight. I've always thought Samarrive would make a chaser and am keen to get him started here.

Will probably need this run

14:05 - Hacker Des Places

He took time to acclimatise when he arrived from France but after a year off he quickly became a success story for his Owners' Group syndicate last season. He keeps on progressing and is a fast improving hurdler but he is one of my horses that always needs his first run of the campaign. So I'm expecting that this race will put him spot on for the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Could perform well if he can relax

14:05 - Magistrato

He was a bit too keen for his own good last season and hard to settle in his races after a pleasing winning debut at Chepstow in October. He didn't seem to handle soft ground in the winter and may have been troubled by his breathing so he had an op for that in the summer. Now Magistrato is more experienced I am hoping he can get back on track in handicap hurdles. He wears a hood for the first time at Ascot to help him relax better. Could run well.

Returns to Ascot in good shape

14:40 - Diego Du Charmil


He has rather been in the grip of the handicapper over the past two years but is 6lbs lower than 12 months ago and we are taking off another 10lbs by using our talented new conditional jockey Freddie Gingell. Diego won this back in 2019 and returns to Ascot in good order. He is fresh, likes the ground and is a great ride for a conditional. Freddie has been schooling Diego and broke his duck as a professional riding for his Uncle Joe Tizzard at Chepstow on Tuesday.

I've had this race in mind all season

14:40 - Thyme White

He was a bit unlucky last season which ended with a nasty fall with Bryony Frost at Aintree in April. There should be more to come from Thyme White over fences if we can iron out his jumping. He loves decent ground, goes well fresh and I've had this race in mind for him since the start of the season. He could run tidily at Ascot but might just improve for the experience.

Ideal start for bit of a character

15:15 - Danny Kirwan

A bit of a character he is another of mine that goes well fresh and he has won at Ascot over hurdles and fences. This looks an ideal starting point for Danny who is best right-handed and enjoys decent ground.

Looks set for better things this time

15:50 - Holetown Hero

Although he didn't quite manage to win last season, I rate Holetown Hero quite highly. As he was a bit on the weak side last season we didn't rush him but he is going the right way now and has had wind surgery since he was just beaten in a bumper at Taunton in April. He has schooled well ahead of this first start over hurdles, has improved physically and I am hoping he can leave his bumper form well behind this season.

This will be an experience to build on

17:03 - Fire Flyer

He seems quite forward in recent weeks but it is a job to get a firm handle on them at home because we never push many buttons with our youngsters. We do like Fire Flyer, he is ready to make a start and as with all my bumper horses he should improve for the experience.

Paul's Ditcheat Decs - Watch below...

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