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Paul Nicholls: Shorter trip ideal for Saint Calvados in Betfair Ascot Chase

Paul Nicholls has some good chances among his seven runners on Saturday, including Mr Glass at Wincanton and Saint Calvados in the Betfair Ascot Chase…

Best chance: Mr Glass – 15:58 Wincanton. A mark of 127 looks fair in his first handicap over a more suitable trip.”

Ascot

Ready to race before Midlands National tilt

14:25 – Truckers Lodge

Although he is is on a stiff enough handicap mark he ran another fine race in the Coral Welsh National at Chepstow where he stayed on to finish third. He is ready for another race which fits nicely into his schedule ahead of one more crack at next month’s Midlands National at Uttoxeter which he won in great style two years ago.

Stunning comeback but this is tougher

15:00 – Cap Du Mathan

He had been off for almost two years before making a stunning comeback five weeks ago at Taunton where he led all the way and kept on to win by nine and a half lengths. He is obviously a talented horse to do that after so long on the sidelines and he will be going chasing from the start of next season. Cap Du Mathan was raised 9lbs after Taunton so this will be a tougher task for him.

Reproduction of King George run would be great over this shorter trip

15:35 – Saint Calvados

SBK4/1

EXC5.4

Trainer: Paul Nicholls
Jockey: Harry Cobden
Age: 9
Weight: 11st 7lbs
OR:

He ran a fine race on his debut for us in the King George at Kempton where he got involved at the sharp end sooner than ideal, led four from home and paid the price late on as he got tired. I also felt he just needed the race that day and would improve for it. A reproduction of that ran over this shorter trip should see Saint Calvados being very competitive at Ascot on soft ground that he seems to enjoy.

Wincanton

We like what we see and conditions will be fine

13:38 – Grivetana

She is a nice filly who joined us shortly after winning impressively in deep ground at Cagnes-Sur-Mer in December. We are a bit in the dark with Grivetana because although she does things nicely at home it’s hard to know what that form is worth. She hasn’t been here long but we like what we see, we know she will handle conditions at Wincanton and this doesn’t look the strongest novice hurdle.

Fair mark and extra five furlongs will help

15:58 – Mr Glass

He was in at the deep end last time against Constitution Hill in the Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown but still ran well enough to finish third over a trip that was definitely short of his best. Two miles on heavy ground that day didn’t play to his strengths.

EXC1.1

Trainer: Paul Nicholls
Jockey: Bryony Frost
Age: 6
Weight: 11st 4lbs
OR: 127

A mark of 127 at Wincanton is quite fair for Mr Glass who will be much better suited by the extra five furlongs on a flat track.

Hoping for better from him

17:05 – Gaulois

Although he ran all right on his first start since joining us from Ireland he is not the easiest to train and was disappointing next time at Ascot two months ago when he was eventually pulled up. He doesn’t need a lot of work and I’m hoping for a better show from him in this.

Haydock

Suitable prep before Hunter Chase at Cheltenham

16:25 – Bob And Co

He enjoyed a highly rewarding campaign last season which included a tremendous victory at Punchestown ridden by his enthusiastic owner David Maxwell. Bob And Co also won this race a year ago and it again looks a suitable prep race for him before the Hunter Chase at Cheltenham. While he has done plenty at home I’ve left enough to work on to fine tune him for that race.

Saturday 19 February, 3.58pm

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