Paul Nicholls believes Enrilo can provide him with a sixth victory in the Ladbrokes Trophy on Saturday week following a pleasing workout at Newbury on Tuesday morning.
The Ditcheat handler won back-to-back renewals of the prestigious handicap as a rider aboard Broadheath and Playschool in the 1980s, while Strong Flow provided him with a first win as a trainer in 2003.
The brilliant Denman won under a welter burden of 11st 12lb in both 2007 and 2009 – and in Enrilo Nicholls believes he has another leading contender.
First past the post in last season’s bet365 Gold Cup before being demoted to third, the seven-year-old delighted his trainer after enjoying a morning spin alongside four stablemates under Harry Cobden.
Nicholls said: “I’m pleased with Enrilo and Harry was chuffed to bits with him – he couldn’t pull him up afterwards. He travelled nicely and it will put him spot-on for next week.
“He was unlucky at Sandown and it’s handy we don’t have a penalty by coming straight here fresh.
“What I like about him is that he stays and he has speed, which you need for the Ladbrokes Trophy.
“I was very lucky to ride the winner twice and it’s really exciting to have Enrilo this year.”
Enrilo was kept up to his work by Monmiral and Clan Des Obeaux, with the latter appearing in rude health ahead of his bid for a third victory in the King George VI Chase at Kempton.
Nicholls decided against running his charge in this weekend’s Betfair Chase at Haydock in an attempt to ensure he is cherry-ripe for his hat-trick bid in the Boxing Day showpiece, where he is likely to meet his stablemate and defending champion Frodon.
“Clan is going for the King George and he’ll have another gallop next week,” said Nicholls.
“We thought Haydock would take the edge off him in bottomless ground and he’s so good fresh.
“We’ve got six weeks to get him ready for Kempton and want to go there in the best possible shape.
“Last year we had to be easy on him for two weeks after the Betfair Chase, whereas this year we can give him a month of hard graft and go there fresh.
“Frodon always keeps finding, but when Clan’s at his best he’s hard to beat.”
Monmiral caught the eye in his workout – finishing full of running under Harry Derham.
So impressive at Aintree in the spring, the four-year-old is due to return in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle on the same day as the Ladbrokes Trophy, although Newbury’s Gerry Feilden is an alternative.
Nicholls confirmed that if Monmiral does head for the north east, Sean Bowen is pencilled in for the ride, with Cobden due to partner Enrilo at Newbury.
Of Monmiral, Nicholls said: “He worked very nicely and he’s a Clan Des Obeaux or Frodon of the future.
“We need rain for him. If it’s not soft at Newcastle, he could come here for the Gerry Feilden or it will have to be the International at Cheltenham.
“His first run will tell us where we are.”
The other two Nicholls inmates to work at Newbury were Kapcorse and Flash Collonges, with the latter ridden by Sir Anthony McCoy. Both are due to return to Berkshire for competitive action next week.