Some of Paul Nicholls' stable stars are in action on Saturday including Cyrname v Altior at Ascot and Frodon in the Betfair Chase at Haydock. Here's Paul's exclusive views on all his runners...
"I have great faith in Cyrname who looks fantastic and thrilled me in a recent spin at Wincanton. He is definitely ready."
- Paul Nicholls on Cyrname
Will go well if relaxing
12:55 - Darling Maltaix
He had a lovely run here three weeks ago when he was a bit keen early on as usual and took time to warm to the task. His jumping got better as the race unfolded and he is bound to have improved massively for that experience at a course which suits his patient style of racing.
Lorcan Williams, who rides him at home, takes a handy 3lbs off his back and I do think this step up in trip will suit though whether he wants to go this far is open to debate. If Darling Maltaix can switch off and relax he will go well.
Cyrname is definitely read to take on Altior
14:05 - Cyrname
He is a different horse since we changed his training routine mid season and the fact that he is more relaxed is largely down to Scott Marshall who rides him at home every day. In a lot of ways Cyrname is playing at home in this much anticipated clash with Altior. He was brilliant in his two victories at Ascot, burned them off from the front and earned a lofty rating of 178 after landing the Grade 1 Ascot Chase by 17 lengths.
There are no doubts about the tactics. Cyrname will go off in front because Harry Cobden will have no option and Altior will follow. Then it will be game on turning for home and may the best man win. I have great faith in Cyrname who looks fantastic and thrilled me in a recent spin at Wincanton. He is definitely ready.
Capeland has good chance of reversing Diego form
15:20 - Diago De Charmil & Capeland
Diego De Charmil has gone up 6lbs for his victory in that amazing race with Capeland three weeks ago at this track. I thought he did brilliantly to get back up and win despite walking through the last and all but coming to a standstill. He was up against it at times last season chasing Altior's tail, showed the benefit of his summer wind op at Ascot and seemed to have improved for it. This looks tougher given his new mark of 156 but he remains in great shape.
Bryony Frost is adamant that Capeland would have beaten Diego three weeks ago but for the bizarre incident at the last fence which led to his disqualification. From what I've seen at home he has improved no end since that race, looks as well as I've ever had him and he must have a good chance of gaining compensation in this given that he is now 6lbs better off with Diego and the pair were well clear before all the drama late on.
Both ready to run and impossible to split my pair
15:50 - Bravemansgame & Skatman
I run two in this bumper. Bravemansgame and Skatman worked together at Wincanton recently and finished upsides. Take no notice of the jockey arrangements as Harry Cobden was on the former that day with Sean Bowen on Skatman so it makes no sense to change them now. Bravemansgame is a big, beautiful horse horse who has taken an age to get fit but he is there now. I am quite excited about running Bravemansgame, a galloper who could hardly have won his point-to-point more impressively and has a bright future.
We also like Skatman, a striking individual who also won his only point-to-point in Ireland and has been showing plenty of promise on the gallops. He, too, is ready for a run though he wouldn't be suited by much more rain at Ascot. On what they have done so far I find it impossible to choose between Skatman and Bravemansgame.
Earned a crack at this higher level
12:05 - Calva d'Auge
We did a lot of work on his jumping which paid off when he won with a bit in hand at Plumpton, he has definitely improved for that experience and he went very well on Thursday morning. He has earned a step up in class here and the more it rains at Haydock the more it will suit him.
Lots in Hunter's favour
14:25 - Highland Hunter
Joined us in the summer, had some good form last season and has a great record fresh which is encouraging. He is another who handles testing conditions, his schooling has improved and he enjoyed an away day at Wincanton recently. It's hard to win a race like this without a prep run but we have done everything we can with him, he has a handy racing weight and has plenty in his favour.
Couldn't be happier with one of our stable stars
15:00 - Frodon
He has been a superstar for us, I've had this race in mind for him for eight months and am really looking forward to seeing how he gets on. His prep for this at Aintree turned into a farce when they took out half the fences because jumping is his forte but he is spot on now and it seems a bit strange to me to see him being classed as the outsider in this. Frodon is a proper horse who got the trip well in the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham. I couldn't be happier with him.
Lots of schooling done on Starsky
11:55 - Starsky
He showed a bit of promise in two bumpers last season and then had an operation over the summer to resolve a breathing issue. A stumble at the first flight rather put him on the back foot on his debut in a decent novice hurdle at Wincanton a fortnight ago. He has done plenty of schooling since.
Decent chance off this mark
13:05 - Ashutor
I was really looking forward to running him at Cheltenham last Friday until the card was washed away. He ran two decent races for us last season before it became apparent that his breathing was troubling him. So he had a op to sort that out, is pleasing us in his work and looks to have a decent chance here off a mark of 119 ridden by Katie O'Farrell. He is my choice as my best chance of the day.