Paul Nicholls: The verdict on my four Sunday runners at Cheltenham and Fontwell

Paul Nicholls hopes Old Guard can record a second success in the Greatwood Hurdle
Paul Nicholls hopes Old Guard can record a second success in the Greatwood Hurdle
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Betfair Ambassador Paul Nicholls provides the inside track on his runners at Cheltenham and Fontwell on Sunday including Old Guard in the Greatwood...

13:50 Cheltenham - Capitaine

A proper horse who jumps for fun and bolted in by twenty two lengths at Market Rasen last time. The runner up Western Miller then advertised the strength of the form when he was just beaten under a big weight at Sandown last weekend.

I think the world of Capitaine who surprised me a bit by how quickly he put them to the sword at Market Rasen. I was expecting him to win but not like that.

He was always going to be a chaser, looks stunning at the moment, and is improving all the time but he is taking on three smart horses here.

Although he has won going left and right handed I remember that in May he did jump a bit right at Newton Abbot on his debut over fences. That wouldn't be ideal at Cheltenham.

15.00 Cheltenham - Old Guard

Won this race two years ago before returning to Cheltenham to land the Bula Hurdle a month later.

He found life much tougher last season and didn't really take to fences but he is a wonderfully honest horse. As we felt he was struggling a bit with his wind we gave him an op in the summer to sort that out.

That definitely helped and I was thrilled to see him bounce back last time with a spirited victory in a Listed Hurdle at Kempton where he was well on top at the line.
Old Guard has a lovely racing weight with Bryony Frost taking off a valuable five pounds and is in great heart at the moment.

It wouldn't surprise me at all to see him bang there at the finish.

15:00 Cheltenham - Amour de Nuit

Is a highly rated flat horse who has really got his act together over hurdles now. Although he stayed well on the flat he has plenty of speed, too, and should be ideally suited by a fast run pace in the Greatwood over two miles as I am not convinced he wants to be going any further at this stage.

I've had this target in mind for a while and it helps that he gets in here off a light weight. While Amour de Nuit has to take another step forward in this he is progressive and looks a fair each way shot at a big price.

13:30 Fontwell - Coillte Lass

Did us proud last season, winning three times for his syndicate of owners who race under the banner of Ditcheat Thoroughbreds.

She schooled very well ahead of her first chase at Worcester recently but was one if several horses that day who found the ground too quick for their liking.

I've put a line through that run and as she seems to have improved since then I am expecting much better now from a genuine mare who has the scope to do well over fences.

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