Paul Nicholls: Skatman has a decent chance at Cheltenham off nice mark

Betfair Ambassador Paul Nicholls
Paul Nicholls has three runners at Cheltenham on Friday afternoon

We'd like to congratulate Paul Nicholls on receiving his OBE on Wednesday, which is a huge tonic before his three runners go to post at Cheltenham on Friday...

"Best Chance: Skatman - 13:10. He is progressive and looks to have a decent chance off a mark of 122."

Nice mark and crying out for this trip

13:10 - Skatman

We have taken our time with Skatman who was given what looks to be a nice mark of 122 after winning readily at Newton Abbot a month ago. The second and third have franked the form by winning subsequently and it makes sense to run him in this race as he goes up another 3lbs on Saturday. He won a point-to-point in Ireland before joining us and has been crying out for this step up in trip at Cheltenham. Decent chance.

Drop in trip should suit and 5lb claim is handy

13:45 - Magic Saint

He ran well for a long way at Wetherby and travelled nicely into the race before weakening late on as if he didn't stay two and a half miles. It's frustrating because sometimes he looks like he stays that trip but other times he struggles to get home. Dropping back to two miles here should help Magic Saint but he has plenty of weight so Angus Cheleda's 5lbs claim comes in handy.

Impressive debut winner in top form at home

15:30 - Gelino Bello

He is an exciting youngster who won impressively on his debut over hurdles at Aintree 19 days ago when he stayed on strongly as he drew clear on the flat. I don't really like running good young prospects again so quickly and was tempted to wait another week or two with him. But Gelino Bello seems in top form at home, he will be fine on the ground and this race offers an ideal opportunity at this stage of his career. Hopefully it doesn't come too soon for him.

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