Paul Nicholls: Exclusive views on my Saturday runners at Ascot and Taunton

Jumps horse Diego Du Charmil
Diego Du Charmil is mega odds to inflict a defeat on Altior

Paul sends a team of nine out on Saturday with runners in the big races at Ascot and Taunton. Get his views on them all here...

"Conditions are ideal for him over a trip that suits so we have to have a crack at this big prize at one of our local tracks."

Thoughts on my Ascot runners starting with Risk And Roll

13:15 - Risk And Roll

Didn't jump as well as he can last time when he was fourth at Ascot wearing blinkers for the first time. We should probably have made more use of him that day as he came with a promising run before keeping on at the one pace to finish fourth to Azzerti.

While Risk And Roll has run a couple of good solid races this season I do think he is on a high enough mark for what he has achieved. So it definitely helps that our talented young amateur Brian Carver's claim reduces the weight he has to carry by 7lbs. I am hopeful Risk and Roll can run tidily in this.

Rail could aid Run's winning bid

13:50 - If You Say Run

Is a classy and consistent mare who won nicely at Wincanton on her return to action in November despite drifting left on the run in and then looked set to succeed again at Kempton until making life very difficult for Harry Cobden by again hanging badly left on the run in.

The ground should suit If You Say Run and if Harry can get her over to the stands side turning for home then she will have a rail on her left to help her. So I am hopeful she can get back to winning ways.

Tough to recommend overly keen Djingle

14:25 - Djingle

He is proving quite a challenge because he is ridiculously keen, so headstrong in his two starts for us that he wants to go 100mph, much like Cyrname and Darling Maltaix used to be when the joined us.

They both took a few runs before they learned to settle and relax in their races and this horse is also taking his time to get the hang of things which is frustrating.

While he badly needs more experience it is fair to say his form in France bears no relation in any way to anything we've seen from him at home. At the moment he is so keen he is a long way from being the finished article. But we will keep persevering.

A team of two in the 2m5f Handicap Chase

15:00 - San Benedeto and Cyrname

San Benedeto is another of mine still in the grip of the handicapper. If he runs in handicaps like this he ends up having to give lumps of weight all round and when he takes on the classier horses at levels he is always up against it. That is what happened last time when he was outpaced in the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon before plugging on to finish sixth behind Charbel.

We are trying the cheek pieces again on San Benedeto who will be suited by going right handed here on decent ground and wants a trip these days. But he again faces a very tough task.

We decided to run Cyrname (pictured below) in this after the ground eased following rain in midweek. With conditions in his favour he is a bold jumping, attacking chaser, one who enjoys trying to dominate the opposition.

Cyrname 1280.jpg

He wants a trip now, too, and found things happening a bit too quickly from the home turn when he ran well to two out over two miles, one furlong at Ascot in November. We have discarded the hood Cyrname usually wears as we don't think he needs it these days. He will relish stepping up half a mile here, is definitely best going right-handed and could be interesting here.

Second behind Altior is Diego's aim

15:35, Ascot - Diego Du Charmil

He did well to chase home Altior at Kempton over Christmas and I hopeful he can finish second to him again here.

Altior beat Diego Du Charmil by 19 lengths at Kempton that day and is actually 3lbs better off with our horse at Ascot so it looks like mission impossible again. We know Diego is fit and well while the only other runner Fox Norton is coming back from a break of 13 months.

Thoughts on my team at Taunton starting with Present Man and Vicente

14:50 - Present Man and Vicente

Did us proud by winning the Badger Ales at Wincanton for the second year running before finding the deep ground at Aintree against him. Normally the going at Taunton and everywhere else would be far too soft for Present Man at this time of year but not in this driest of winters.

Conditions are ideal for him over a trip that suits so we have to have a crack at this big prize at one of our local tracks. Strictly on his handicap mark of 151 he has to have a proper chance but I do have some doubts that he doesn't tend to shine at this time of year.

Vicente (pictured below) is not the easiest to place and his whole campaign is geared towards attempting a third success in the Scottish Grand National at Ayr in April.

Vicente Scot National 1280.jpg

Vicente had an off day when he was pulled up at Cheltenham in November on his only start this season. He usually shows his best form in the spring but racehorses need to race and given that he has bags of stamina and is at his best on goodish ground this race fits perfectly into his schedule.

Ellarna a big player in the closer

16:25 - Ellarna

She is a lovely filly who ran with great promise on her debut at Ludlow six weeks ago to finish third of 16 behind a highly regarded mare of Harry Fry's.

The ground was quite testing by Ludlow standards and there was lots to like about the way Ellarna came from off the pace before staying on nicely at the finish. She will have learned plenty from that experience and should be a big player in this wearing a tongue strap for the first time.

Best Chance: If You Say Run. She is a classy mare who can get back in the winning groove here.

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