Paul Nicholls: Very hopeful about Knappers Hill as the new National Hunt season begins

Betfair Ambassador Paul Nicholls
Paul Nicholls has some big chances at Chepstow on Friday

Paul Nicholls has six runners at Chepstow on Friday as he looks to start the new National Hunt season with a bang at a meeting he loves to have winners at...

"Best Chance: Knappers Hill - 13:00. He is unbeaten, has done plenty at home and has the speed for two miles."

Needs to improve

13:00 - Carry On The Magic (NON-RUNNER)

Carry On The Magic made a low key start for me last season after finishing second in an Irish point-to-point. He needs to improve on what he has done so far and I'm hoping wind surgery over the summer will show him in a better light. He could be going chasing before too long.

Exciting novice and I'm very hopeful

13:00 - Knappers Hill

He obviously has the better chance of my two runners in a race I would dearly love to win as it is named after my great friend Andy Stewart who was a brilliant supporter of mine until his recent death.

Knappers Hill is an exciting individual who was unbeaten in all three starts in bumpers last season. He won easily on his debut at this track 12 months ago before completing the hat-trick in much stronger company at Ascot and Aintree.

He has been schooling over hurdles for two years ever since we broke him in as a three-year-old and has a quick, fluent jump in him. Now he needs to do it at the track in company of other horses. This looks an ideal starting point for him and I'm very hopeful.

Looking forward to seeing him over fences

13:35 - Threeunderthrufive

He won four times over hurdles last season and the only time he was beaten was at the Cheltenham Festival where he ran a fine race in the Albert Bartlett. He has been jumping well at home over our schooling fences and I'm looking forward to this race as I've always felt he would make a chaser. He's ready to go and stays well.

Has done well over the summer and should run a good race

14:45 - Paso Doble

He is a good looking son of Dawn Approach and landed two handicaps on the flat for Jim Bolger. He made a beautiful debut for us when third in the Adonis Hurdle at Kempton in the spring. As I was keen to save his novice status for this season I waited until the first week of the new campaign before sending him back to Kempton where he won in good style. Paso Doble has done well over the summer and while this is a step up both in class and trip for him I do think he will run well.

Had this race in mind and ground will suit

15:20 - Hell Red

He is another who made a taking debut for us at this meeting last year before a disappointing run at Cheltenham when he was found to have a breathing problem. Once we sorted that out he came back to run with credit in the Boodles Juvenile Hurdle at the Festival but then suffered a cut while hacking up in a minor race at Newton Abbot which ruled him out for the rest of the season. I've always had this competitive handicap pencilled in as a starting point for him on drying ground that will suit.

Drying ground a plus for promising mare

15:55 - Mondora

She is grey half-sister to the smart hurdler Malaya and ran with promise in three bumpers last season without quite managing to win. Her best run came when she finished second at Wincanton to I Like To Move It who has since franked the form. Mondora was a bit backward last season, and a shade too keen at times, but she has strengthened up over the summer and should soon be winning over hurdles. The more it dries out for her at Chepstow the better.

*Best Chance: Knappers Hill - 13:00. He is unbeaten, has done plenty at home and has the speed for two miles.


Some of Paul's Friday 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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