Paul Nicholls: Thoughts on my Saturday runners at Musselburgh and Sandown

Paul is hoping for a good showing from Sametegal at Sandown
Paul is hoping for a good showing from Sametegal at Sandown
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Betfair Ambassador Paul Nicholls has 11 runners in action on Saturday afternoon, at the meetings at Musselburgh and Sandown, so here's his in-depth analysis of their form and prospects...

"We are trying him in a hood here as he has been a bit too keen for his own good in the first half of his races. I am looking for another good run from Amour de Nuit with the gifted, in form Bryony Frost taking off a valuable five pounds."

12:55, Musselburgh - Coup De Pinceau

He is one of a team we are sending North to Musselburgh in search of better ground which will suit them much better than the seriously testing conditions currently in place around the country. They all look great and are ready to go.

This looks an ideal race for Coup De Pinceau who has been knocking on the door, is stepping back in trip after finishing second over three miles at Taunton and will appreciate racing on a flat track.

13:15, Sandown - Dolos

The drier it is at Sandown the better it will suit Dolos who was always going to be a chaser and has taken well to fences, winning stylishly at Ascot in November before finding two miles, five furlongs stretching his stamina last time on ground that was softer than ideal for him. So we are bringing him back to two miles here in the belief that he can make his jumping count over two miles.

13:30, Musselburgh - Peter The Mayo Man

Joined us this season and I was thrilled with the way he took to fences when winning at Doncaster in November, with the help of a fine ride Nick Scholfield, because he was anything but a natural in early schooling sessions. We had to be patient with him with loads of practise at home before the penny finally dropped.

This is a much better race but he's in good nick at home, full of himself and I've been waiting to run him again on this better ground. I'm hoping he is quite a decent prospect.

14:05, Musselburgh - Amour Du Nuit

Is another I don't want to run on bottomless ground. He has taken really well to hurdles, will definitely appreciate the conditions at Musselburgh and although he was a useful stayer on the flat for Sir Mark Prescott this trip just shy of two miles is fine for him at this stage of his career.

We are trying him in a hood here as he has been a bit too keen for his own good in the first half of his races. I am looking for another good run from Amour de Nuit with the gifted, in form Bryony Frost taking off a valuable five pounds.

14:25, Sandown - Cyrname

Used to be a bit of a tearaway over hurdles but fences have been the making of him this season. He is an imposing, big horse who jumps for fun and we learned at Newbury that we need to keep him to right hand tracks.

Cyrname was impressive last time at Kempton where he stayed on strongly and now that he settles better I am confident that he is ready for this step up in trip to two and a half miles. In fact I think he wants it.

He is progressive, getting better with racing, is up to a mark of 150, relaxes better in front and Sean Bowen gets a great tune out of him. I'm really looking forward to seeing him run in this.

14:45, Musselburgh - Marracudja

It helps that Bryony can also claim five pounds on Marracudja who has top weight in the Scottish Champion Chase. While he has been finding life quite hard as a second season chaser I've been anxious to keep him away from testing conditions which he can't handle.

Marracudja settles better these days so I have taken off the hood that he has been wearing in the past. Two miles round Musselburgh on this better ground on a flat right-handed track should be just up his street.

15:00, Sandown - Topofthegame

I was very pleased with his run into fourth place in the Lanzarote on his return to hurdles last time when he jumped a bit too carefully before staying on strongly in the closing stages.

Given that he was beaten almost three lengths I admit I was astonished that the handicapper promptly raised him three pounds. While Topofthegame lacks experience and ran a bit green at Kempton he has bags of ability and will relish the step up to three miles provided the ground is not too soft though ideally I'd have preferred another week before turning him out again.

He is a lovely prospect who should go well if the rain keeps away and will come into his own over fences next season

15:15, Musselburgh - Southfield Theatre

Has been struggling to find his form this season though he ran well enough to be fourth first time in the Badger Beer behind Present Man. I was hopeful of a better show from him at Cheltenham on New Year's day but at the risk of repeating myself he is yet another of mine which who can't operate in the mud.

I blame myself for running Southfield Theatre there as all his best form has been on the drier ground he should encounter at Musselburgh. He seems in good order at home.

15:35, Sandown - Sametegal

He is in great order for this first attempt over three miles which I've always thought would be in his favour. Sametegal has put together three smart performances since returning from a year off after an injury and is one of my entries for the Grand National. He kept on steadily to finish third behind Ballyhill at Cheltenham last time, has a serious engine and looks as though he is crying out for this trip. I expect him to go close again.

16:10, Sandown - Kapcorse

Is a sizeable, striking individual who is a big baby, has been rather backward and may not come into his own until he tackles fences. Kapcorse showed a bit of promise first time for us in a novice hurdle at Exeter in October before running a shade disappointing at Exeter early in December.

While I suspect he is a long term project he is fit and well and now tackles handicap company for the first time stepping up in trip to two and a half miles.

16:20, Musselburgh - Wonderful Charm

Is one of my squad for the Cheltenham Foxhunters' in which he was a fast finishing second behind stable mate Pacha Du Polder last year.

Cheltenham's chairman Robert Waley-Cohen is now a part owner of Wonderful Charm who will be ridden by his son Sam who was third on him in the Champion Hunter Chase at Stratford last summer.

This horse has a touch of Class, is in good form, goes well fresh and looks to have a sound chance of repeating his victory in this twelve months ago.

Paul Nicholls' Bet of the Day

Sametegal is a more than useful in-form chaser who should relish the step up to three miles for the first time in the 15:35 at Sandown.

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