Tom Stanley predicts a good day for the eight-time champion National Hunt trainer.
Struggling for numbers as far as bets go tomorrow but hoping it’s a good day for Nicholls in the handicaps. He has such a good Saturday record and Alcala looks overpriced at Haydock in the feature handicap (opened 25/1). His trainer didn’t think he’d get in off 126, indeed he wouldn’t have in the last few years, but he scrapes in here and looks well treated. Pedigree suggests ground should be fine and he handled it in France. He bounced back after a wind-op over the summer when bolting up at Worcester and Sean Bowen is back on. He was pitched in very deep at Cheltenham when 12/1 outsider of the field but wasn’t far behind the 146 rated Penglai Pavilion and exciting Champers On Ice. Whilst short of that company, he looks well handicapped off 126. The Pipe pair look overpriced for a stable that haven’t fired of late but have a great record in this. Cheltenham was disappointing for the yard and the horses didn’t really seem to be seeing out their races. It will change though and there’s value around in preempting that, especially given Katkeau was a recent winner who saw his race out well. Low Key had a progressive time of it on the flat and David Noonan is well worth that 7lb. It’s Batavir that really catches the eye though as the choice of Tom Scudamore and a horse that made rapid progress last term. He disappointed on good ground when favourite at Doncaster but a return to easier ground may suit. It wasn’t particularly testing at Cheltenham and he was disappointing but that was in keeping with plenty from the yard and I fancy there’s more to come.
Fago takes to the track on his 2nd start after 10 months off at Ascot in the same colours as Alcala. He was good last time and an error at the last really cost him. He’s justifiably up 3lb for the run which puts him off 148. Talented but not without his problems, he gave Simply Ned weight and a beating a few years ago in a graduation chase. That runner is now 160+ so you’d imagine there’s more to come off his current mark. That said he is a risky proposition. The ground will suit though, the drop in trip is no bad thing and I’m surprised he’s not nearer the top of the market.