Paul Nicholls: Lucky One can start the day in fine style at Cheltenham

Betfair Ambassador Paul Nicholls
Paul Nicholls has five runners at Cheltenham and Doncaster on Friday

Another top quality weekend of racing starts with Cheltenham on Friday, and Betfair Ambassador Paul Nicholls has four runners on the card along with one at Doncaster...

"Best Chance: Lucky One - 11.30 Cheltenham. He won easily last time and is progressing nicely."

Going the right way and has a big chance

Cheltenham 11:30 - Lucky One

He has improved on each start for us and won a maiden hurdle unchallenged last time at Southwell for which he earned a 6lbs penalty. While this is a step up in class he is going the right way and looks to have a sound chance.

Bound to improve for run after such a long absence

Cheltenham 12:05 - Fabulous Saga

He had some really smart form in Ireland, winning four times over hurdles including a Grade2 event at Limerick before fading out of things after leading going to the final flight in the 2018 Albert Bartlett Hurdle at Cheltenham. Fabulous Saga hasn't run for over 1,000 days so has a lot on his plate in this novice Chase. He has had a similar preparation this autumn as another long time absentee Next Destination before his excellent re-appearance at Wetherby. Although we have done plenty with Fabulous Saga at home and he has schooled nicely, he is bound to improve a fair bit for the outing.

Trip ideal but Huntingdon would have suited better

Cheltenham 13:50 - Dolos

I was very keen on his chances in this race on Sunday at Huntingdon as he is well suited by racing on a flat track. Two and a half miles is ideal for Dolos who is so consistent and again ran a fine race under top weight at Cheltenham in October when fourth to Rouge Vif. But I'd have been more confident if the race hadn't been transferred from Huntingdon to Cheltenham.

Not easy off this mark but he seems very well

Cheltenham 14:25 - Black Corton

He was rather unlucky at Ascot last time when he stumbled on landing and parted company with Bryony Frost. Life isn't easy for him off a mark of 160 but he seems very well and I'm putting on cheek pieces to try to sharpen him up a bit. He's won twice at Cheltenham in the past and will run his usual genuine race though he wouldn't want too much rain overnight.

Longer trip and drying ground just the ticket

Doncaster 14:17 - Ecco

I was pleased with his last run at Ascot where he was staying on nicely at the finish when third to a decent type called Buzz. His jockey Harry Cobden felt he wants further now so I'm hoping this step up in trip to two miles, three and a half furlongs is just the ticket for him on ground that is drying out.

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