Just four runners for Paul Nicholls on Saturday at Kempton but the Betfair Ambassador has a strong chance of a winner with one of his stable stars...
"There is still some improvement to come but given that he is rated 7lbs higher than the favourite Top Notch he has to have a very good chance over a trip and course that suit him well."
- Paul Nicholls on Frodon
Improved since last run and should go well
12:55 - Saint Xavier
He is an experienced recruit from France where he won twice over fences. He had a wind op after joining us and was a bit keen and fresh on his debut for us at Cheltenham a month ago. I felt it was a good run by Saint Xavier who was still bang there going to the last before tiring late on. He has improved since then, has tightened up and should go well in this.
He's more settled and should be winner sooner rather than later
13:30 - Sao
He has been a bit of a challenge as he tends to pull hard and has had breathing issues. But there was plenty of promise on his return to action last time at Kempton on his second start since a wind op when he kept on to finish fifth in a competitive handicap. Sao is more settled these days, wants this trip of two and a half miles and rather like Mercy Mercy Me a week ago should be winning over fences sooner rather than later. The drier the ground the better his prospects.
In great shape and has a good chance
14:05 - Frodon
He hasn't been quite at his best so far this season and I gave Bryony Frost the wrong orders last time because I didn't want her to get into a battle for the lead with Bristol de Mai. So we dropped him in and it didn't work.
Afterwards we discovered that Frodon had grade 4 ulcers which is as bad as it gets. We've treated him for that, he's back bouncing again, has done a lot of work and is in great shape now. There is still some improvement to come but given that he is rated 7lbs higher than the favourite Top Notch he has to have a very good chance over a trip and course that suit him well.
A consistent and likeable horse
15:15 - Touch Kick
I did think of running him at Wincanton a week ago but changed my mind when the ground was almost heavy.
Testing conditions were also against him last time over the National fences at Aintree but he still ran very well for a long way. Three miles going right handed on better ground at Kempton should be more suitable for Touch Kick, a likeable horse who is consistent and won readily at Fakenham in October.
*Best chance: Frodon. He is clear top rated and his work has been encouraging since he was treated for ulcers.