Paul Nicholls: Drying ground a big plus for Ecco in Betfair Hurdle

Betfair Ambassador Paul Nicholls
Paul Nicholls has three runners in Newbury's Betfair Hurdle on Saturday

Paul Nicholls sends six runners to Newbury on Betfair Super Saturday including three in the valuable Betfair Hurdle. Here he speaks exclusively about their chances...

"Novices have a great record in the Betfair Hurdle, Ecco has improved this season, he will love the drying ground and I expect him to run really well."

- Paul Nicholls on Ecco

Our horses have been in top form over the past 12 days following a brief lull last month after their mid winter flu jabs on January 1. It's a tried and trusted system which pays dividends and allows them a couple of easy weeks ticking over at home before we start to build them up again for the final three months of the season.

In addition I didn't over race plenty of them before Christmas so they are fresh and very well and coming good now.


Great to have him back but he'll come on plenty

14:25 Dynamite Dollars

He was a top novice last season until a tendon issue forced us to call a halt and it's great to have him back on the racecourse. While I've done as much as I can with him and he has done loads of work including a day out at Wincanton he still looks on the burly side and I've no doubt he will come on plenty for the run.

Big chance of a place with conditions in his favour

15:00 - Secret Investor

I entered Secret Investor when I realised there might be only a handful of runners. He will love the drying ground, is in good form at home and is worth a shot at this Grade 2 prize named after our mighty chaser Denman as you never know in racing with doubts about some of the others. I do think that with conditions in his favour there is a fair chance Secret Investor can run a big race and finish second. I am looking forward to running him in a race I've won nine times.

Ecco the pick of my trio with lots in his favour

15:35 - Pic D'Orhy, Ecco, Tamarac Du Mathan

We run three here and there is no significance in the jockey bookings as it makes sense for Harry Cobden to again ride Pic D'Orhy and Bryony Frost has won on Ecco.

Pic d'Orhy ran well up to two hurdles from home last time at Ascot where he was very keen. He travelled fine into the straight but found the trip of almost two and a half miles too far on heavy going. Although I am sure he will appreciate dropping down in trip to two miles he does look to be on a stiff enough mark on what he has achieved in three runs since joining us from France and needs to take a big step forward here.

Novices have a great record in the Betfair Hurdle, Ecco has improved this season, he will love the drying ground and I expect him to run really well. After struggling on soft going at Cheltenham in November he ran much better when second at Kempton over Christmas, giving weight to a horse who has won again since.

James Bowen rides Tamarac Du Mathan as our conditional Lorcan Williams can't do the weight. This horse struggled on desperate ground over Christmas but he has been dropped 5lbs since then and has a lovely light racing weight. Ideally he wants further than two miles so the stronger the gallop the better for him.

Good showing expected on ground he'll relish

16:10 - Mont Des Avaloirs

He has been crying out for this longer trip of almost three miles and is yet another of mine who will relish the better ground at Newbury. He ran very well at this course on his first start of the season behind Champ and then hated the conditions at Ascot next time. I am looking for a good showing from Mont Des Avaloirs, a big horse who has needed time and has always shaped as though he would be a chaser.

Uttoxeter - Love sure to need run

16:17 - Sending Love

He has had one or two issues since winning on his debut in a point-to-point in Ireland exactly three years ago. He is ready to start now but is sure to need the run after such a long absence and will improve plenty for it.

*Best chance. Ecco 15:35 Newbury. Novices have a great record in this race, his form is decent and he will love the drying ground. He has a sporting each-way chance.

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