It's a busy first Saturday on the season for Paul Nicholls who saddles some big chances among his 11 Chepstow runners, while he also has one going in the Ces at Newmarket...
"Best chance: Magistrato - 13:15 Chepstow. He showed plenty of promise on his debut in France and has leading claims in a race we’ve won six times in the last 11 years."
Strong French form and he has a good chance
He was second on his debut at Auteuil in a decent race. The winner is smart and the third and fifth have both won since. We like everything he has done since joining us and he's a chaser of the future. While he has been settled in his work here he does need to relax at Chepstow as he was quite keen at Auteuil. He jumps well and has a good chance.
Voyou is in top shape and ready to go
13:50 - Flic Ou Voyou (NON RUNNER: Bathsheba Bay)
Flic Ou Voyou always goes well fresh, won at this meeting a year ago and will be going chasing next. His last run at Sandown was a great effort under a huge weight on the final day of the season. Flic Ou Voyou is in top shape and is ready to go.
Bathsheba Bay (Editor: now a non-runner) won twice before missing last season with a leg injury. I'd say he's bound to improve for the run after an absence of 595 days and given his past problems he's one I might withdraw on the day if the ground dries out too much.
Steel needs to improve while Lodge is on a high enough mark
14:25 - Real Steel (NON RUNNER: Truckers Lodge)
Real Steel bled a couple of times last season and has had a wind op since he last ran. After a disappointing campaign we need to see improvement from him before making any firm plans for him.
Truckers Lodge (Editor: now a non-runner) is a regular at Chepstow, he has already won three times at the track, and is on course for another crack at the Coral Welsh National which he so nearly won in 2019, though I fear he is too high in the handicap to be competitive. It's been that way since he won the Midlands National.
Should go well with step up in trip set to suit
He is on a roll having won his last four starts over fences. This has been his target for a while and the more it dries out at Chepstow the better for him. Although he tends to improve a fraction for his first run after a break I've done as much with him as I can at home. He is crying out for this step up to two and a half miles and should go well in what looks a very good race.
Tough task for Amour but Dargiannini has each-way claims
Having run some super races last season after a long break Amour de Nuit is right on the edge with a stiff handicap mark. It's in his favour that he always runs really well fresh but he has a tough task and will be going chasing after this.
It's a bonus that Dargiannini just squeezed into the race at the foot of the weights. As he joined us in the summer I am still learning about him but he does go nicely at home and will love the ground at Chepstow. He does lack a bit of experience having won two small field handicaps last season. Dargiannini is going to learn a lot competing in an 18 runner handicap against seasoned rivals. If he can handle the hustle and bustle of a big field he should have a decent each-way chance.
Sancy enjoys this time of the year and can go well
Dolos is another of mine that is on a very harsh handicap mark. Hopefully we can find a race for him this season but he has it all to do in his return to action in this.
Grand Sancy always runs well at this time of year and has won at this meeting in 2020 and 2019. Once again he is in good shape for his seasonal debut so it wouldn't surprise me one bit to see him bang there at the finish.
Going well at home but he's one for the future
Timeforatune is a lovely, big galloping type who won impressively for Brian Eckley at Ffos Las in May and was then bought by John and Lisa Hales at the Cheltenham sale shortly afterwards. He is going tidily at home and will enjoy the track at Chepstow on what is likely to be his last run in a bumper before he goes hurdling. I see him very much as one for the future.
Drying ground a plus for Scaramanga at Newmarket
I suspect he has it all to do in a huge field for the Cesarewitch having gone up 7lbs for his pleasing win at Newbury. All he does is stay and gallop so he wasn't suited by the way the race was run at York last time. The drier the ground at Newmarket the more Scaramanga will like it ridden by an ex jump jockey Jim Crowley.
Some of Paul's Saturday runners get a mention in his runner by runner guides to the new season, which you can read by clicking on the links below;
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