Nicholls targeting more Scilly success with Pic D’Orhy

Pic D’Orhy will bid to provide trainer Paul Nicholls with a fifth victory in the Virgin Bet Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase at Sandown on Saturday.

The Ditcheat handler won four successive renewals of the Grade One contest between 2006 and 2009 with Napolitain, New Little Bric, Silverburn and Herecomesthetruth.

Nicholls has failed to add to his tally during the subsequent 12 years, but has high hopes of doing so this weekend with Pic D’Orhy, who bounced back from a November fall at Newbury with an impressive Grade Two success Ascot the following month.

“The plan at the moment is to run Pic D’Orhy in the Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase,” said the trainer.

“My feeling with him is that he would go for the Scilly Isles, then on to the Pendil at Kempton Park, then up to Aintree (Manifesto Novices’ Chase).

“I think having spent the first part of last season over fences has helped him as a second season novice this season.

“He is always going to take a few chances as that is the way he is. He jumped well around Ascot the last day and won well and he should have won at Newbury as well until he fell.

Paul Nicholls has high hopes for Pic D'Orhy
Paul Nicholls has high hopes for Pic D’Orhy (Steven Paston/PA)

“He has obviously got a huge amount of ability but we have just got to get that jumping a bit more solid and get him to respect the fences a bit more.

“He is rated just below Bravemansgame, who is the highest-rated novice chaser we have in the yard. He is a good horse and it would be nice for him to show that once again at Sandown.”

Pic D’Orhy is a best priced 2-1 for Saturday’s Sandown feature, with the Venetia Williams-trained L’Homme Presse – unbeaten in three starts over fences – the 4-5 favourite.

Connections of L’Homme Presse are among those hoping that the forecast rain will arrive on Friday.

L'Homme Presse is the Scilly Isles favourite
L’Homme Presse is the Scilly Isles favourite (David Davies/PA)

Sandown’s clerk of the course, Andrew Cooper, said: “There is the potential for a bit of rain on Friday, from 7am to late morning.

“Most forecasts are pitching that between three to five millimetres. If we saw that, it would be the first rain of that sort of volume since the day we last raced here on January 8.

“I think a couple of horses would like to see that rain. When that blows through, it will be a chilly night on Friday, but not a night of concerning temperatures, but back to a mild, dry day on Saturday.

“It will not likely be a desperately big sum, but it will soften things up and freshen things up a bit and having gone through such a dry spell, it will help.

“Having walked both this morning, I have left the description of the chase course as good, good to soft in places and the hurdles course good to soft, good in places and the Going Stick readings are 6.3 on the chase and 6.4 on the hurdles, which is at or near the usual good to soft territory and indicates the ground is a bit better on the chase course, which is how it walks.

“Quite frankly, it will benefit from a drop of rain and the outlook thereafter next week is for a very dry forecast.”

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