Paul Nicholls is keen to run the exciting Bravemansgame in the John Romans Park Homes ‘Rising Stars’ Novices’ Chase at Wincanton – but the prospect of quick ground has him worried.
A Grade One winner over hurdles last season, Bravesmansgame made a seamless transition to fences on his return at Newton Abbot last month, beating subsequent Charlie Hall winner Fusil Raffles in the process.
Nicholls immediately earmarked this weekend’s Grade Two. Yet despite an inch of rain at the track on Sunday, the ground is still officially good – with no appreciable rain forecast.
“It’s the plan to run, but I’ll be keeping an eye on the weather,” he said.
“I’ll walk round with Clifford (Baker, head man) on Friday. If it’s genuinely good he’ll run – but it needs to be genuinely good ground.
“It’s a fantastic race – and Wincanton deserves the support of some good horses in it – but I just hope to God it stays really good ground, and we can run him. I’ll just keep an eye on how much it dries up.
“I might be trying to persuade Dan (Cooper, clerk of the course) to put some water on by the end of the week – because with big races like the ‘Rising Stars’ and the Badger Ales we need really good, safe ground.
“I wouldn’t want Dan’s job – mine’s difficult enough, but I definitely wouldn’t want his job!”
Regarding Bravemansgame’s impressive debut over fences, Nicholls said: “He was very good – the good thing about him is that he jumps well. If you’re going to be a good novice chaser you’ve got to jump well.
“I was thrilled with what he did the other day. He’s in good shape – I’m desperately keen to run, so let’s hope the ground is safe enough.”
Cooper said: “I’ve walked it twice, and it is pure and simple good ground – with no variance whatsoever.
“It’s not going to be a day for soft-ground horses, with a dry outlook and maybe a millimetre or two in a blustery shower which won’t change things.
“It’s good ground, and we’re moving rails to get fresh ground.”
Bravemansgame is one of 10 entries for the Grade Two which include stablemates Calva D’Auge and Mick Pastor.
Captain Tom Cat, Coconut Splash and Faivoir are other possibles.