Nicholls: Straight to Cheltenham now with Bravemansgame

Bravemansgame will now skip the Betfair Denman Chase at Newbury and head straight for the Gold Cup at Cheltenham.

Champion trainer Paul Nicholls had mooted after his good effort in defence of his King George crown the nine-year-old could take in the Grade Two contest, where he would have clashed with Shishkin once again.

However, the Ditcheat handler has decided he does not need to run last year’s Gold Cup runner-up again and will freshen him up in an attempt to go one better than last year in the blue riband.

“Bravemansgame is having a little break and we are definitely going straight to Cheltenham now,” Nicholls told Betfair.

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“We had been talking about going to the Denman Chase, but we’re not going to do that.

“I spoke to Bryan (Drew, owner) in depth and Clifford (Baker, head lad) and we’re going to go straight to Cheltenham so he’s having an easier little time, along with Stage Star, who’s come out of his Cheltenham race fine. I don’t want to get on with them too soon.”

Nicholls also confirmed Hermes Allen on course for the Scilly Isles Chase at Sandown on February 3, while Rubaud will run in either the Unibet (International) Hurdle at Cheltenham next week or the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton on February 17, rather than carry top-weight in the Betfair Hurdle.

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