Paul Nicholls: Best of the rest

Paul Nicholls nominates some in his yard it may pay to keep onside this season:

Fidelio Vallis

“He won two novice hurdles at the end of last season. The plan is to run him in a Listed novice hurdle at Kempton next weekend, then go to Cheltenham for the Paddy Power meeting. He took a while to acclimatise last season like a lot of the French horses do.”


“The plan is to go for the Charlie Hall and he is in good shape. We want to campaign him a bit more over three miles this season, as that is what he definitely wants. He just wasn’t quite good enough last season and has probably lost a gear as well. He has won a Cotswold Chase over three-one and I think three miles is his trip now.”


“He is a nice horse and the plan is to go to the Haldon Gold Cup. He ran very well at the Cheltenham Festival in the Grand Annual and he did nothing but progress last season. I could see him running in a Tingle Creek if he progresses.”


“I’m starting him off in the Persian War at Chepstow. I could either then find another novice or go to Newbury, which is what I really want to do, for the Long Distance Hurdle and then see how good he is. Last year he was big and weak, but he is much more mature now. He had a fall schooling then first time at Chepstow a horse fell in front of him and it just didn’t go right, but he ended up getting well handicapped for the EBF Final. In my mind I can see him being competitive in a Stayers’ Hurdle. He is a high-class horse.”

Next Destination

“He has had the best part of 18 months off since he won at Punchestown. We are on top of everything at the moment and if we keep him sound he will be a very nice novice chaser as he has schooled well. He could go to Fakenham for a three-mile novice chase.”

Real Steel

“I’m told he is better right-handed and his form suggests that, but he did run well in the Gold Cup where he looked a non-stayer. I think we will start him off in the Christy 1965 Chase that we won last year with Cyrname. To me he is a Ryanair horse. “

Saint Sonnet

“He ran well at Cheltenham having only won at Catterick the time before. I will give him a run over hurdles somewhere then he will have an entry in all the good two-and-a-half-mile handicap chases, including the Paddy Power, which might be a nice race for him.”


“We will start him off at Wincanton in the Elite Hurdle and go from there. He has been gelded during the summer. He was very good at Kempton in the Adonis, but he got lost a little bit round Cheltenham in the Triumph and he may have been over the top. He will improve this season as we have started from scratch with him.”

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