Paul Nicholls: Tommy is in top order and has a lovely chance at Ascot

Paul Nicholls Next Destination
Paul Nicholls has some big chances at Ascot and Haydock today

Paul Nicholls has some fascinating runners at both Ascot and at Haydock on Betfair Chase day, and here he gives his exclusive views on them all...

"Best Chance: Bravemansgame - 13:50 Haydock. We won like a top class chaser at Newton Abbot and should be hard to beat here."


Goes very well at home

12:10 - Sonigino

A stone bruise prevented him making his debut for us at Cheltenham last Sunday but he is fine now. He won twice over hurdles in deep ground in France and is an exciting horse who will make a chaser in time. We are still learning about Sonigino who does things nicely at home and goes very well.

More his level and ground will be fine

13:15 - Christopher Wood

I'd love to win this race named after Andy Stewart, who was a great friend and a brilliant owner with me over the past 20 years. Christopher Wood ran very well in the Elite Hurdle at Wincanton a fortnight ago where he had it to do against smart hurdlers on quick ground. He just needed the run there and realistically this Class 2 handicap is more his level. While Christopher is not the best handicapped horse in the world he will be fine on the ground at Haydock and Angus Cheleda, who has won on him before, claims a handy 5lbs.

Couldn't be happier with him

13:50 - Bravemansgame

This was the obvious target for Bravemansgame after I withdrew him from the Rising Stars Chase at Wincanton two weeks ago because the ground was too quick. We have won this race three times in the past five years and although it is not a novice Chase he was foot perfect on his debut over fences at Newton Abbot against more experienced horses six weeks ago. He worked well on Wednesday and I couldn't be happier with him.

Ideal trip but would prefer softer ground

14:25 - Storm Arising

He is fit and fresh but would prefer the ground to be much softer than he is likely to find at Haydock. He progressed nicely last season, winning twice, before finding the going a bit too lively in the Pertemps Final at Cheltenham. The trip of just over three miles is ideal for Storm Arising, a stout stayer who will be be going chasing after this race.

Top drawer form and should be right there in first time cheekpieces

15:00 - Next Destination (NON-RUNNER)


I've had this race in mind for Next Destination ever since he came back to us in the summer. He is a high class horse who did brilliantly last season on his return to action after a gap of 920 days with various problems. He won twice, jumping soundly, before running a terrific race in the slowly run NH Chase at Cheltenham where he finished second to Galvin. That form is top drawer and he should be right in the mix in the Betfair Chase wearing cheekpieces for the first time.


Still very green and might just need this

12:20 - Flemenstide

I've had to be very patient with Flemenstide as he took a fair bit of time to mature and strengthen up before he was ready to run last season. He then made an excellent start in bumpers before a below par effort at Ayr in April when all of ours ran badly. He is still green in everything he does so although we've given him plenty of schooling I suspect he will need this first experience over hurdles.

Lots in his favour if ground continues to dry

12:55 - Jeremy Pass

The more it dries at Ascot the better for Jeremy Pass who is at his best on good ground. He ran very well at Chepstow three weeks ago, has come on for the outing and this trip of three miles is very much in his favour.

Decent opportunity in first time cheekpieces

13:30 - Get The Appeal

Although she ran all right over fences at Kempton 12 days ago I feel she is better over hurdles and this looks a suitable opportunity. She is rated high enough on a mark of 120 so it helps that the talented young amateur Ben Bromley can claim a valuable 7lbs. Get The Appeal always improves for her first run and given that she is fine on good ground I'd say she has a decent each way chance in first time cheekpieces.

In top order and has a lovely chance

14:05 - Master Tommytucker

He was too keen for his own good on his return over hurdles at Wetherby three weeks ago when he got tired late on but that run has taken the freshness off him and he did a great piece of work at home on Wednesday. Tommy usually needs a race to put him straight and he is spot on now, in top order. He is much sharper and has a lovely chance dropping back in trip in this Grade 2 Chase.

Both will enjoy the ground but I expect a better run from Diego

15:15 - Dolos & Diego Du Charmil

Both of mine in this will enjoy the ground at Ascot. There is no denying that Dolos ran a bit ordinary six week ago at Chepstow where he was already struggling as they turned for home. He is hard to place these days off a mark of 154 which is too high when you think that he has only won once since May, 2019.

Diego Du Charmil had a nice warm up for this in the Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las where he was bang there until weakening on the run-in. He is bound to have improved a fair bit because I felt he was a bit behind most of ours after a wind op in the summer. I expect a much better run from Diego this time.

Ready to start and should go well

15:50 - Thames Water

He is a nice prospect by Flemensfirth who has been working regularly with some of our better bumper horses that have been running tidily including Hugo's Other Horse, Onethreefivenotout and Henri The Second. He has a great pedigree, is ready to start and I expect him to run well.

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