Paul Nicholls: The conditions are perfect for Black Corton at Sandown

Betfair Ambassador Paul Nicholls
Paul Nicholls' focus is Sandown on Saturday
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Betfair Ambassador Paul Nicholls discusses his runners at Sandown on Saturday and picks his best chance of a busy afternoon.

"It's laughable that I have had loads of stick on social media for not running Cyrname in this. I've said all along we wouldn't risk him at Sandown on fast ground and with the going good to firm in places at declaration time and a dry day Thursday and Friday it was an easy decision to make. "

Sandown

Back on track?

13:50 - Getaway Trump

Bounced back to his best a fortnight ago with a sparkling victory at Ayr a second off the course record after a listless display at Kelso which I put down to an off day caused by the long journey North.

He is up 4lbs to a career high mark of 147 now and I just hope this doesn't come too soon after Ayr. He is obviously smart, has earned top weight in this and should run very well though in a perfect world I'd have liked another week or two since Ayr.

Should fly past

13:50 - Birds of Prey

Has taken a bit of time before winning his last two races at Taunton snuggly so comes into this a little under the radar and gets in here off a decent mark. With our excellent claimer Lorcan Williams taking another 5lbs off his back he should be very competitive with a low racing weight.

I've always felt a fast run handicap with plenty of runners would really suit Birds of Prey who only just does enough, likes passing horses and is one of ours who would appreciate a nice drop of rain to ease the ground. He does look well handicapped.

Should suit the step up

14:25 - San Benedeto

He ran well at Aintree considering the ground was too soft for him after heavy rain and had previously done us proud with a brilliant success at Newbury. He goes well at Sandown, was second to Altior a year ago and will enjoy the step up in trip on decent ground.

Conditions spot on for Corton

14:25 - Black Corton

Conditions are spot-on for Black Corton who has found life a lot tougher this season after such a prolific run the previous campaign. Just like Getaway Trump he wasn't himself at Kelso seven weeks ago but he is bouncing now, full of life.

Two miles, six furlongs at a right-handed, stiff track on quickish ground looks perfect for this horse with his regular jockey Bryony Frost back in the saddle after breaking her collar bone just after Cheltenham.

Bryony rode out on Thursday morning and is fit as a flea after working hard in the gym. I think she has a really good chance of a comeback win on Black Corton.

Charmil not Cyrname

15:00 - Diego Du Charmil

It's laughable that I have had loads of stick on social media for not running Cyrname in this. I've said all along we wouldn't risk him at Sandown on fast ground and with the going good to firm in places at declaration time and a dry day Thursday and Friday it was an easy decision to make.

I am already looking forward to Cyrname taking on Altior next season when ground conditions are suitable, most likely over two miles, five furlongs at Ascot in November.

Diego Du Charmil seems to have been chasing Altior's tail all winter and on all known form we can expect the same again at Sandown.

But with precious little rain at the track so far there has to be a chance that Nicky Henderson will not risk his stable star on fast ground.

If he doesn't turn up then Diego comes right into the mix. The big plus with him is that he comes to this race fresh as he hasn't run for three months. He loves fast ground, looks amazing and is in the form of his life at home. I am expecting a big run from him.

Should be in the mix

15:35 - Present Man

I've trained him for this race since he got stuck in the mud behind Royal Vacation at Taunton three months ago. Bryony gets a great tune out of Present Man who was third in this a year ago when the ground turned against him.

We've cauterised his soft palate since he last ran and as he relishes good ground I wouldn't want any rain for him on Friday night.

It would be no surprise if Present Man is bang there at the finish in this race which has been his target all spring. He worked great on Thursday morning.

15:35 - Adrien Du Pont

I fancy this one massively each-way and have aimed him at this ever since he was unlucky to be beaten in a £100,000 handicap at Kempton two months ago after being caught in traffic on the final bend.

I remember saying to his owner Johnny De la Hay that the demands of this race would play to Adrien's strengths as he jumps so well and needs to be produced late. Provided the ground doesn't go soft the bet365 Gold Cup is made for Adrien as he is always staying on strongly at the finish.

You can put a line through his last run at Aintree where things didn't go his way before he was badly hampered late on.
I think he is a really lively outsider.

Rain check

15:35 - Give Me A Copper

We need rain if Give Me A Copper is to take his chance as he has had leg problems in the past and I will not risk him on fast ground.

He ran a cracker on his comeback at this track early in February before tiring late on then didn't come up to expectations at Cheltenham where he got tired late on with the ground turning against him.

He is fine now, comes here in good heart and is the choice of Harry Cobden who will switch to Adrien Du Pont If The rain doesn't arrive. Ground on the easy side of good would be ideal for Give Me A Copper.

Fresh guard

16:10 - Old Guard

We are trying blinkers for the first time on Old Guard who has been running consistently all season without quite getting his head in front.

They have made a big difference to him at home and he comes here fresh and well as we deliberately by passed Cheltenham and Aintree with him to keep him back for this.

While he has a fair bit to find at the weights he is very reliableand I am sure he will run his usual honest race.

Another one for rain

17:15 - Dan McGrue

We need need a fair drop of rain by race time if Dan McGrue is to take part. He ran very well at Sandown last time on his second start after a long break when he looked like winning at the final flight before tiring on the hill in very testing ground.

He is going to be a useful chaser next season and I won't be risking him at Sandown if the rain doesn't arrive. If conditions do ease then he has solid each way claims.

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Paul Nicholls,

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