Paul Nicholls: Blackjack Kentucky can be second time lucky at Chepstow

Betfair Ambassador Paul Nicholls
It's a busy Saturday for Paul Nicholls

Betfair Ambassador Paul Nicholls has a busy Saturday afternoon look forward to with runners at Sandown, Chepstow and Aintree. He discusses their form and picks his best chance...

12:55 - Blackjack Kentucky

"The trip and ground are fine for him and he looks to have a decent chance of going one better back at this course."


Chance to gain vital experience

12:15 - Grey Getaway

He has needed time to develop and hasn't rung any bells yet because he is still a bit weak. He hasn't shown much so far in two runs this season but he jumps well and I am hoping he can progress down the handicap route as he gains more experience.

Expecting a decent run from debutant

13:50 - Grand Sacy

I am throwing him in at the deep end a bit on his debut over fences but he's a Grade 1 horse, improved beyond recognition last season and I am looking forward to him going chasing. Grand Sancy jumps well at home, was as good as any of his opponents over hurdles and I am expecting a decent run.

Malaya has great each way chance

14:25 - Malaya and Ashutor

Needed her recent run at Ascot last time after missing work when she picked up a little injury on her seasonal debut at Market Rasen. She is fine now, has improved for the outing and was very impressive when winning the Imperial Cup in March at this track despite a bad blunder at the second last hurdle. Malaya is only 4 lbs higher now and must have a great each way chance.

He was beaten a couple of lengths at Huntingdon last time when I thought he would win and obviously he needs to improve to be competitive here. But he is only five, is going the right way and has a feather weight to carry with Bryan Carver taking off a valuable 7lbs. I am also hoping putting cheek pieces on Ashuto might help.

Both of my runners could be involved at the finish

15:00 - Politologue and Dolos

He ran a cracker at Cheltenham last time and briefly looked the winner until caught late on by Defi Du Seuil who is very smart and still improving. We are 3lbs better off with him now and it definitely didn't suit us to make the running that day. With two regular front runners in this a strong pace looks certain this time which will be to Politologue's advantage. He is as well as he has ever been, looks fantastic, and Sandown plays to his strengths.

Dolos is one of those likeable, talented rock-solid horses in no man's land because he is so consistent and never gets much relief from the handicapper. He ran another solid race in the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter last time, finishing second to Janika, and could pick up some of the pieces in this if things go his way.


Second time lucky?

12:55 - Blackjack Kentucky

He is a winning Irish point-to-pointer who we expected to go close at Chepstow 17 days ago when he was second to a highly rated prospect of Colin Tizzard's. Trip and ground are fine for him and he looks to have a decent chance of going one better back at the same course.

Best yet to come from relentless galloper

13:55 - Captain Cattistock

I was thinking of running him in the London National at Sandown but at the last minute I decided to switch him when this race at Chepstow looked like cutting up. He has always shaped like a real stayer in the making and was only just beaten in the Sussex National at Fontwell 20 days ago. Captain Cattistock is a relentless galloper who jumps well and at the age of six has his best days ahead of him.

Ready to show what he can do

14:30 - Worthy Farm

A big horse who ended a successful campaign last season on a bit of a high BHA mark. He also takes a lot of getting fit but should be straight now after two runs over fences. Worthy Farm needs soft ground and a stamina test, so with conditions in his favour I am looking for an improved show from him in blinkers first time.

One for the future

15:05 - Mortlach

A nice four-year-old by Yeats, he is ready to make his debut and I'm hopeful that like a lot of my bumper debutants he can finish in the first four or five, learn from the experience, and go on and win next time. He is one for the future.


Decent prospects

13:30 - As De Mee

A smart horse who won the Grand Sefton over the National fences three years ago and is back after a year off with a tendon injury. I thought he ran with great credit three weeks ago on his return to action over hurdles at Cheltenham after such a long lay off. He was bang there two out until fading late on, has been in top form at home and has decent prospects back over the National fences.

Race fit and raring to run another unbelievable race

14:40 - Black Corton

Has been a magic horse for us and ran an unbelievable race under top weight when second in the Galway Plate in the summer despite being hampered by a loose horse. Black Corton again ran with great credit under a huge weight at Ascot last time. We know he is race fit so it is possible he can serve it up to Native River and Might Bite if they are not fully tuned up for their seasonal debuts.

Should take to Aintree

15:15 - Touch Kick

He won nicely at Fakenham seven weeks ago and I've had this race in mind for him since then.
The key with Touch Kick is to keep him fresh which is why I've held him back for the Grand Sefton which has long been the target for him. I expect him to take to the National fences because he is such a sound jumper and his owner Trevor Hemmings loves having runners at Aintree.

Paul's best chance on Saturday - Backjack Kentucky (12:55 Cheptstow): "Has sound claims of gaining his first win over hurdles."

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