With the National Hunt season now underway, Paul Nicholls gives us an insight into how his string has progressed through the summer, updates on last season's high-profile horses such as Big Bucks and Al Ferof, as well as some of the new recruits Paul hopes will make their mark over the winter months and beyond...
Paul talks about last season's Paddy Power Gold Cup winner Al Ferof who, after missing most of last term through injury, will be aimed this season at the King George before a possible crack at the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Exciting second-season chasers Rocky Creek, Rolling Aces, and Sire Collonges are also mentioned amongst others.
Paul talks about some exciting prospects to go novice chasing with, including Sam Winner, Easter Day and Saphir Du Rheu, as well as telling us his different plan for talented chaser Kauto Stone and what the main target is for Hawkes Point.
Silviniaco Conti could improve enormously now that he is strengthening up says Paul, and all the big races are on the agenda starting with the Betfair Chase in November. Paul also talks about some of his youngsters including Ptit Zig, Dodging Bullets, Virak and Sea Wall, while he also tells us about a 4yo who will go straight into novice chases after being electrifying over fences at home.
Last season's World Hurdle runner-up Celestial Halo parades for the sixth consecutive year under the care of Paul Nicholls, and here the Ditcheat handler tells us about his plans for this season. Exciting novice hurdler Lac Fontana, who was placed in some high grade races without winning last term, also gets a mention, as does smart chasing prospect Fago.
One of the most popular horses in training - Tidal Bay - is back to follow a similar path to last season which included victory in the Grade 1 Lexus Chase, while Paul also talks about his Triumph Hurdle runner-up Far West, some exciting chase prospects in Sonofvic and Dark Lover, and why he's bought some mares for the season ahead.
Paul tells us about his plans for top class hurdler Zarkandar, as well as discussing some of his more establish horses such as Join Together and Edgardo Sol. But the horse everyone wants to know about is 18-time hurdle winner Big Bucks, who is well on the road to recovery with Paul saying there should be no reason why he won't be as good as ever.