Chepstow Champ Nicholls Aims for More Friday Fame
Paul Nicholls’ Friday Chepstow Runners Assessed
For many National Hunt fans, Chepstow’s Jumps Season Opener signals the start of the season – with the two-day meeting featuring runners from some of the biggest jumps yards. One stable that has enjoyed unprecedented success at this meeting in recent years has been Paul Nicholls.
Nicholls won half of the 16 races contested last season, pulling in a 237/1 four-timer on last years Friday card. He takes aim once again in 2021, with no fewer than five runners. Here at Racing Tips, we have assessed the chances of all five Nicholls horses below.
KNAPPERS HILL – (1:00pm, Andy Stewart Racing’s Great Friend Novices’ Hurdle)
Harry Cobden takes the ride aboard KNAPPERS HILL, who was unbeaten from three starts in bumpers – scoring at prohibitive odds at this very meeting last year.
This 5yo went on to score in Listed company at Ascot, before taking a Grade 2 at Aintree’s Grand National meeting.
He was arguably the best of the British bumper horses last year and should prove a class above these rivals on hurdles debut.
THREEUNDERTHRUFIVE – (1:35pm, Tom Malone Bloodstock Novices’ Chase)
Just four go to post for this novice chase but each runner has a realistic chance. The market looks set to be headed by THREEUNDERTHRUFIVE, however, who had a fine novice hurdle campaign last term, winning four times in five starts over the smaller obstacles.
His sole defeat came in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle, yet Threeunderthrufive was far from disgraced in sixth there and he ended the campaign with an impressive Listed win at Perth.
He makes his debut over the larger obstacles here and certainly has the size and scope to make a big impression in this sphere.
PASO DOBLE – (2:45pm, Unibet Persian War Novices’ Hurdle)
Paul Nicholls has had notable success in the Grade 2 Persian War in recent years, sending out three of the last five winners, and his sole representative this year is PASO DOBLE.
84-rated on the level for Jim Bolger, this 4yo was thrown in at the deep end on stable/hurdles debut when third in Kempton’s Adonis Juvenile Hurdle. He acquitted himself with credit when third there, and deservedly got his head in front in this sphere when scoring back at Kempton last time out.
Paso Doble remains open to improvement in this sphere and should appreciate the forecast ground conditions, so a big run looks firmly on the cards.
HELL RED – (3:20pm, Paul Ferguson’s Jumpers To Follow 4-Y-O Hurdle)
Paul Nicholls’s HELL RED made a taking debut for these connections when running out a 12l winner at this meeting last year.
He bounced back from a couple of below-par performances when a respectable ninth in the Boodles Juvenile Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. Hell Red backed that run up when running out a 6l winner at Newton Abbot in April.
He reappears today on what looks like a workable hurdles mark of 130, clearly has no concerns with running fresh, and his course experience also looks a notable plus.
MONDORA – (3:55pm Chepstow, ITM – It Pays To Buy Irish EBF Mares’ “National Hunt” Novices’ Hurdle)
Paul Nicholls has sent out the likes of Posh Trish and Silver Forever to win this race in recent years and he appears to hold another strong hand this year with MONDORA.
A half-sister to the same connections useful handicapper Malaya, this filly has run to a consistent level in three bumper starts without managing to get her head in front.
She has received wind surgery since last seen at Newbury in March and is bred to improve for the switch to hurdling. This doesn’t look the strongest of novice hurdles and therefore it wouldn’t take a great deal of improvement for Mondora to feature.