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Saturday's expert tips - Nicholls, Henderson and Tizzard discuss their runners at Kempton and Warwick

Jonathan Vine 12 Jan 2019
Trainers Paul Nicholls (L) and Nicky Henderson (R) during gallops ahead of the Ladbrokes Winter Carnival.

Using their respective bookmaker blogs, Paul Nicholls, Nicky Henderson and Joe Tizzard discuss their runners at Kempton and Warwick on Saturday 12th January.

ITV Racing viewers are in for a treat this afternoon, with Kempton and Warwick hosting good quality cards. Using their respective blogs with Betfair, Unibet and Coral, top trainers Paul Nicholls and Nicky Henderson, along with assistant trainer Joe Tizzard, discuss their runners in today's televised races.

Paul Nicholls (Betfair)


13:30 - Amour de Nuit (2/1 Betfair)

Ran well last time at Leicester in what quickly developed into match with Desirable Court. He had to give the mare almost a stone and the pair played cat and mouse with our horse forced to make the running before Desirable Court pounced late on.

Amour de Nuit has progressed nicely over fences, jumps accurately and is probably handicapped to the hilt after a rewarding spell. But he likes Kempton, prefers going right handed and enjoys good ground so there are plenty of positives with Lorcan Williams taking a handy 5lbs off his back.

14:05 - Black Corton (13/2 Betfair)

Life was always going to be a lot tougher for Black Corton this time round after his astonishing achievements last season. He is not the biggest and he struggled under top weight in the Ladbroke at Newbury in testing conditions. It was all a bit much for him and I've put a line through that run.

Black Corton is fine now, in top form at home, and will be much happier winging round Kempton on decent ground.

Finding the right races for him is not easy and dropping back in trip to two miles, four and a half furlongs is not ideal and while he will run tidily as usual I suspect he will have his work cut out against Charbel.

14:40 - Darling Maltaix (15/2 Betfair)

I've had this race in mind for Darling Maltaix since he finally opened his winning account over hurdles at the 10th attempt at Ascot with the help of a patient ride by Lorcan Williams.

But I can't be at all confident after the handicapper over reacted by raising him 12lbs to a mark of 134. That is a joke, incredibly harsh on a horse winning for the first time. Although I don't have many complaints about British racing I am getting more and more annoyed with the handicapping system.

Putting him up 7lbs for winning by four lengths in a race that fell apart would have been fair. But 12lbs! That is ludicrous when you consider he had been well beaten off a lower mark of 117 in his three previous starts this season.

It has taken ages to teach Darling Marling to settle and switch off because he is headstrong and not an easy ride. Then he finally gets it together and is hit with a thumping great rise. Owners who support the game become upset when their horses are murdered by the handicapper and this is not an isolated incident.

Naturally I hope Darling Maltaix can defy the handicapper but I can't really see it happening.


13:50 - Secret Investor (6/1 Betfair)

Won the Persian War Hurdle in style before chasing home Bags Groove on his first start over fences in the Rising Stars Chase at Wincanton. Bags Groove put his experience to good use that day and although Secret Investor tried hard he could never quite land a blow, partly because his jumping wasn't slick enough.

He came back with a little nick on his leg which caused him to miss a couple of days but he was quickly back in form at home and has had plenty of schooling to sharpen up his jumping.

Secret Investor is a really nice horse who goes well fresh and looks to have a good chance in this.

15:00 Ibis Du Rheu (15/2 Betfair)

He came good in style at Cheltenham in November, jumping soundly before staying on well to beat Theatre Territory and The Worlds End. So it was disappointing to see The Worlds End turn the tables decisively next time when they got racing a long way from home and he made a couple of mistakes at a crucial time.

I've always felt that Ibis Du Rheu would be best suited by coming off a strong pace in a long distance handicap on good ground and he gets the chance here which is strange when you consider the going at this time of year is usually bottomless.

He has bags of experience over fences and I can see him starting to pass horses and then creeping into contention late on. Great chance.

Nicky Henderson looking rather glum at Cheltenham.

Nicky Henderson (Unibet)


12:20 Unibet Juvenile Hurdle - Chaparral Prince (Nico de Boinville) (10/11 Unibet)

He clearly benefitted from a wind operation after running much better when second over course and distance last time and his behaviour at home has been much better too. He enjoyed himself the other day when making the running and he’ll love the ground around there and if he can reproduce that last run I think he has a great chance. If you would have asked me a month ago if the Fred Winter was on the agenda I would have said that was extremely ambitious but if he wins tomorrow we would definitely be looking at it, for sure. The form of that race has worked out very well after Prebani, who was behind us there, won the Chatteris Fen at Huntingdon today.  

12:55 Novices’ Hurdle - Lomachenko (Daryl Jacob) (6/4 Unibet)

We cauterised his palate after Fakenham in October and it clearly did the trick as he improved to win very nicely at Leicester last month. We’re going up to three miles which is a slight question mark but he stayed 2m4f around Leicester which has a stiff uphill finish and he travelled really well throughout the race. This has cut up quite considerably but he will love the ground and should go well.  

2:05 Listed Chase - Top Notch (Daryl Jacob) (6/4 Unibet)

There’s absolutely nothing between him and Charbel on ratings (both 162) and Black Corton is no slouch so this is a proper race! He probably ran slightly better than I expected in the Long Walk at Ascot on his first run back but will have come on plenty for it and he’s been in very good form since. He was quite a sick horse in the autumn when he reacted very badly to a flu vaccination which knocked him sideways for a month, but he’s back to full health now and should run another big race, but I was very impressed with Charbel the other day…  

2:40 Unibet Lanzarote Hurdle - Doux Pretender (Noel Fehily) (7/1 Unibet)

He didn’t stay three miles at Cheltenham so will be much happier back at this trip and the ground will really suit. To be honest I’m hoping he can be very competitive as he has lots going for him and is still on the upgrade.  

3:15 Unibet Handicap Chase - Josses Hill (Nico de Boinville) (8/1 Unibet)

He absolutely loves it around Kempton and good ground is what he has to have which he gets here. There is only one horse that isn’t wearing some kind of headgear or contraption which means they’re a barrel load of monkeys but our horse is in good form and we’ll see how things pan out for him.  


1:50 Novices Chase - Ok Corral (Mr Derek O’Connor) (2/1 Unibet)

He made a very pleasing debut over fences at Plumpton and did what he had to do. This looks the next logical step and we’ve got Derek over to ride him as the plan is the National Hunt Chase. Touch wood Ok Corral has been much easier to train this season which makes my job easier and for a 9-y-o there are still hardly any miles on the clock. There are only four runners, although Rocky’s Treasure has good form and will be hard to beat, but I’m very happy with our horse and expect him to put up a big show.  

Joe Tizzard with Native River during the national hunt trainer Colin Tizzard stable visit at Spurles Farm.

Joe Tizzard (Coral)


3.15 – Bally Longford (10/1 Coral)

The race re-opened so we stuck him in. The track and the trip and the ground will all suit him, I’m just not sure if it’s too good a race for him or not.

You can forget his run at Wincanton on Boxing Day as it was too short a trip, and he ran well at Lingfield the time before when he was just touched off by an out and out stayer.

He is what he is, a 130 rated horse that gets his chance to win every year. There aren’t too many runners which will suit him.


1.50 – White Moon (6/1 Coral)

We are going to walk the course and so long as it is genuinely good ground then the horses will run. White Moon we want to get runs into.

He won nicely at Exeter last time over two miles in a soft race and this is a step up. We’ve got him back to the best we’ve ever had him at home.

He looks super, and he’s been schooling and working really well, so he deserves to be in this. On official ratings there doesn’t look a lot between any of the four.

2.25 – Rockpoint (15/2 Coral)

Stepping up in trip has been the godsend for this horse. He did it really well at Cheltenham last time. This two mile five furlongs around a galloping track like Warwick should be just about right.

We are excited about running him. We are so glad he didn’t win last year because he’s now a year older novice and he’s benefitting from it. 

He’s got to carry a 5lb penalty but he’s gone up because he’s the horse that’s been there and done it.

3.00 – Ultragold (22/1 Coral) and Sizing Codelco (14/1 Coral)

We are heading to the Grand National with Ultragold but it’s a long time to wait until April. We are just sussing out the trip a little with him, he loves a bit of good ground and we want to get another run into him.

We tried him over hurdles and it didn’t really work. We’re as well running him as if he drops a couple of pounds he should still sneak into the Grand National. If he runs well they won’t out him up too much.

We’ve been waiting for a spring campaign for Sizing Codelco. He’ll love the ground but it’s his first run for a long time so I’d expect him to come on for the run.

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Saturday's expert tips - Nicholls, Henderson and Tizzard discuss their runners at Kempton and Warwick

Using their respective bookmaker blogs, Paul Nicholls, Nicky Henderson and Joe Tizzard discuss their runners at Kempton and Warwick on Saturday 12th January.

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