Which Paul Nicholls horses to follow impress our experts most?
Hurdle Bet give their five Paul Nicholls horses to follow on the road to the 2018 Cheltenham Festival.
Ditcheat handler Nicholls is a 10-time champion trainer, so such sustained success means he is held in the highest regard.
When it comes to the Cheltenham Festival, he’s had over 40 winners at National Hunt racing’s premier event.
Who from his stable should we be keeping an eye on this season? Here are our top five Paul Nicholls horses to follow…
First up is a new recruit to the Somerset handler’s yard, Binge Drinker.
The eight-year-old beat Nicky Henderson’s quirky talent Might Bite on his chase debut at Ffos Las last November when in the care of Rebecca Curtis.
Given the great things that rival has gone on and is expected to do, a mark of 148 for Binge Drinker looks exploitable.
He features among Paul Nicholls horses to follow because his new handler has given him a Welsh Grand National entry.
Bookmakers are a general 16/1 about Binge Drinker in Chepstow’s 3m 5 1/2f showpiece handicap chase over Christmas.
Partnerships between horse and rider just click perfectly sometimes, and that is definitely the case with Bryony Frost, who is unbeaten in five aboard Black Corton.
The six-year-old had never won on soft ground until last time out in a hot 3m class 2 novices’ chase at the Cheltenham November Meeting.
A four-length victory over Ballyoptic – a horse officially rated 5lb better over fences – highlighted how Black Corton is more than a summer jumper.
He also thrashed former Albert Bartlett second Fagan by 10 lengths on his previous Cheltenham start.
Going for the RSA Chase at the Festival is a serious consideration now, so Paddy Power are a top-price 25/1 about Black Corton, which looks smart each-way value.
Last season’s JLT Novices’ Chase fourth Politologue has dropped back in trip to 2m events this season so far.
A faller on his final start of the last campaign at Aintree’s Grand National meeting, this six-year-old came out and won first time up in the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter.
Politologue features among Paul Nicholls horses to follow because his handler is bullish about his chances in the Grade 1 Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown in December.
Paddy Power are a best-price 7/1 about him for that, but how will he fare against more established two-milers?
The Tingle Creek looks likely to shape where he goes next, with BetVictor a top-price 14/1 for the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Festival.
If Politologue isn’t competitive, then the 2m 5f Ryanair Chase could be his Cheltenham target.
He’s as big as 20/1 in places for that Grade 1 over an intermediate trip.
Read more about Politologue in our separate profile of him.
Although a faller on his chase debut at Newbury five from home, Topofthegame was travelling well enough.
This five-year-old has a point-to-point win over No Hassle Hoff – a Stayers’ Hurdle contender this term – and an unlucky fourth in the Grade 2 Classic Novices’ Hurdle on Festival Trials Day back in January.
Topofthegame held every chance when blundering at the final flight and beat 11 lengths up an extended Cheltenham run-in by Wholestone.
Nicholls regards this horse as a nice prospect and is aiming him at novice chases with a minimum trip of two-and-a-half miles.
If he shapes as a stayer, then the National Hunt Chase or RSA are possible Cheltenham Festival targets for Topofthegame, who is a top-price 33/1 with BetVictor for the latter.
Paul Nicholls horses to follow even extend to the hunter chase scene with Festival Foxhunters runner-up Wonderful Charm.
Beaten just a neck by older stablemate Pacha Du Polder at Cheltenham in March, the nine-year-old has twice run in the Grand National.
Wonderful Charm’s chase record is six wins and eight places from 21 starts is down to him going in hunter chaser events.
Paddy Power are 8/1 about him in next year’s Foxhunters Chase after being such an unlucky loser in the race.
Nicholls is a three-time winner of that contest, so expect a strong hand again in 2018.
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