- Paul Nicholls gives his views on his seven runners at Cheltenham and Hereford
- He has both Monmiral and Il Ridoto saddled in the December Gold Cup
- Lime Avenue should be more competitive on her second start since a wind op
Paul Nicholls has five horses running at Cheltenham and two running at Hereford on Saturday, including Monmiral ridden by Harry Cobden in the December Gold Cup.
Other Nicholls-trained horses in action include Il Ridoto, Mofasa, and Lime Avenue.
Here, Betfair ambassador Nicholls runs us through seven of his horses set to race on Saturday.
12:05 Kabral du Mathan
He won his only start in a conditions hurdle in France in July and we like him a lot.
We have given him time to acclimatise and he’s ready to run now.
I’m hopeful of a decent show under a 7lbs penalty for his French success.
Paul Nicholls shares his views on his seven runners at Cheltenham and Hereford on Saturday
14:40 – Mofasa
New to us this season he seems progressive and won tidily last time at Huntingdon early in November on his second start for us.
He is a good looking type who has been successful at Cheltenham before and I’m looking for another decent run from him off a 5lbs higher mark in a competitive novice handicap.
13:50 – Il Ridoto
A regular in these valuable big handicaps at Cheltenham, he got his reward in the Premier Handicap on Trials day in January.
He is consistent and always runs well but the task is a bit harder now running off a 5lbs higher mark.
Il Ridoto again ran a solid race in finishing third behind Stage Star in the Paddy Power Gold Cup last month.
He might improve plenty from that first run of the season but will need to if he is to win this.
Harry Cobden will ride Monmiral at 13.50 in the December Gold Cup and Il Ridoto will also run
13:50 – Monmiral
He’s a Grade 1 winner over hurdles and ran very well over fences last season against some top horses like Jonbon and The Real Whacker.
But he probably wasn’t quite right last winter, so we gave him a wind op in the summer because we felt he was struggling with his breathing.
His homework this autumn has been really good and he also pleased us in a recent away day.
I’m going down the handicap route and targeting this race because he is a class horse on an attractive mark of 145.
Harry Cobden was keen to ride Monmiral after partnering him in a piece of work.
14:25 – Threeunderthrufive
He is a strong stayer, and ran a cracker on his return in the Badger Beer at Wincanton when he was up with the pace the whole way before finishing second to Blackjack Magic.
He was conceding over a stone to the winner and was the only one to give him a race in the closing stages.
That was his first run since a wind op and I’d say he has come on for the outing.
He has won at Cheltenham before and on his best form he has a fair chance.
On his best form, Threeunderthrufive has a fair chance and ran well on his return in the Badger Beer at Wincanton
13:35 – Lime Avenue
She is a well related sister to three winners and is running at Hereford because she wants good ground.
She just needed the run on her return to action a month ago at Wincanton where she got tired in the closing stages in the testing conditions.
She has improved since then and should be more competitive now on her second start since a wind op.
14:13 – Beau Balko
He is another who doesn’t want it too soft and had a rewarding first season over hurdles.
The plan was always to go chasing with him this autumn.
I thought he did well to finish second to Tritonic last time at Wincanton when he was a bit too keen from the start before tiring late on.
We will try to ride him with more restraint at Hereford.
Best chance: Monmiral, 13:50 Cheltenham.
It’s a close call between my duo in the December Gold Cup. I just favour Monmiral, who is a class horse.