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Paul Nicholls: My runners at Kempton and Leopardstown

Sanctuaire is just one of the stars on show at Kempton

"Sanctuaire faces no straightforward task giving weight away to the likes of Wishfull Thinking, heavy ground isn't ideal, and I just have a feeling that this horse may be better in the spring."

Paul sends out a sizeable team as he hunts big prizes on either side of the Irish Sea - here are his thoughts on all Thursday's runners

12:25, Kempton - Irish Saint

We bought him after he won a listed hurdle at Auteuil in September by 5 lengths and we like what we see of him at home. He could quite easily win this - the race has cut up a bit at the overnight stage - but I have to flag up a few potential negatives for anyone considering backing him. The form of his French win hasn't worked out that well, it's not ideal running horses with double penalties in these races and he is very much a chaser in the making and a horse for the future. Certainly, he isn't a Triumph Hurdle-type. But the French win was clearly full of promise, he does show us plenty of ability and the ground shouldn't be an issue; as ever though, I reserve full judgement on these French purchases until I get to see them on a racetrack for me for the first time.

12:55, Kempton - Hinterland

Very smart hurdler who was clearly disappointing on his chasing debut at Exeter. But he was far too free that day, and we rode him differently last time at Sandown. And I was delighted with his second to Captain Conan. He settled much better there, jumped nicely, and finished off his race a lot better and gave us plenty to build on. This is a very hot race, but we have always liked our horse, and this flat track should suit. Clearly, we have our work cut out against Simonsig, making a quick reappearance after Ascot, but we will give it a shot.

13:25, Leopardstown - Edgardo Sol

Was one of the most improved horses in training last season, and I have been pleased enough with his two runs this term, against a very impressive Cue Card at Exeter and then running well in the soft in a handicap hurdle at Newbury last time. Is up against it here against the likes of Sizing Europe but he is in good form at home and Ruby thinks this track will suit him well.

14:05, Kempton - Ghizao

I think this race being re-routed to Kempton works in our favour. Ghizao had a nice confidence-booster when winning here last month and the trip, flat track and soft ground are ideal conditions for him. I was delighted with his third to King George runner-up Captain Chris and For Non Stop over 2m3f in heavy ground at Ascot last time, and that gives us a fair chance in a small but highly competitive field. I think he will go well.

14:40, Kempton - Sanctuaire

We won't be as aggressive with him as we were in the Tingle Creek last time, where he ran himself into the ground. But whatever way we rode him there clearly wouldn't have made any difference as Sprinter Sacre was awesome. There is nothing of the calibre of the winner in here today and we clearly have a leading chance on the form of his Celebration Chase win at Sandown. However, he faces no straightforward task giving weight away to the likes of Wishfull Thinking, heavy ground isn't ideal, and I just have a feeling that this horse may be better in the spring. Certainly, his profile seems to suggest that at the moment; he obviously won the Fred Winter at the Festival in 2010, his best effort in the following campaign was when winning the Scottish Champion Hurdle in April 2011, and last season's best form was his Sandown win in April. Hopefully, I am wrong on that score and he can run up to his best today. If he does, he must go close.

15:15, Kempton - Rolling Aces

Won at Wincanton yesterday; we left him in here as a precaution.

15:45, Kempton - Dildar

I think a mark of 124 is very fair judged on his Ayr third and he has soft ground, winning form on the Flat. Furthermore, he has had the benefit of a summer breathing op and a racecourse gallop with Ranjaan recently. But I have to say that he has taken a long time to come to himself, and been very difficult to train. So I can't be confident here, especially in such a competitive race first time out. But let's get him out and see what we have.

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27 December 2012

Weekend Runners


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