Paul Nicholls on Iceo – back at the scene of his Imperial Cup success – and 11 other horses who will be competing at Aintree, Sandown and Chepstow… as long as the latter two courses can pass their inspections

  • Paul Nicholls has horses riding at Sandown, Aintree and Chepstow on Saturday
  • The trainer has a trio of horses at Aintree, and another three at Sandown
  • Sandown and Chepstow, where Nicholls has six entries, both face inspections 

Trainer Paul Nicholls hopes his horses will succeed across three of Britain’s racecourses on Saturday, if racing action across the country holds off the weather

Nicholls, 61, has a trio of entries confirmed at Aintree, whilst the trainer has a total of nine horses heading to Sandown and Chepstow, although those cards are dependent on 7.30am inspections. 

Assuming all races start as planned, here Betfair ambassador Nicholls outlines his opportunities across the country during the day. 

Paul Nicholls talks about his range of racing entries across Sandown, Aintree and Chepstow

Paul Nicholls talks about his range of racing entries across Sandown, Aintree and Chepstow

Sandown (Inspection 7.30am)

13:50 – Iceo

He is back at the scene of his brilliant success in the Imperial Cup in March. He was always going to be a chaser and made a lovely start over fences with a cosy success at Newton Abbot early in October, before finishing third giving plenty of weight to two decent horses at the same track three weeks later. I don’t think he was quite right that day, perhaps I ran him a bit too soon, and I’ve put a line though that run. He is fine now and I’ve always had this Grade 1 Chase in mind for him. Nice chance.

15:25 – Truckers Lodge

He is well into the veteran stage now, will soon be thirteen, and finally got some relief from the handicapper when ending a long losing run with a pleasing victory at Ffos Las in April. I feel there is another long distance Chase in Truckers Lodge who retains all his enthusiasm and stays all day. He was unfortunate to be brought down at the third fence on his recent return at Cheltenham. The more it rains the better his chance.

15:25 – Broken Halo

He bounced back to form towards the end of last season with two victories in military races at Sandown before finding things a bit too hot for him in the bet365 Gold Cup. He always needs his first run of the season and is bound to improve for it.

Veteran Truckers Lodge should thrive in the 15:25 at Sandown, especially if it continues to rain

Veteran Truckers Lodge should thrive in the 15:25 at Sandown, especially if it continues to rain


11:45 – Golden Son

He’s an interesting French recruit who missed a year with a leg injury before making a highly pleasing debut for us over fences at Warwick a month ago when chasing home the smart Iroko. He hadn’t run for a long time, just needed the outing against a very good horse, has come on for it and I’d like to think he will take all the beating.

14:40 – Liari

A really good looking type by the Derby winner Cracksman he was useful on the flat in France before making a stylish winning debut for us in a juvenile hurdle at Wincanton at the end of October. He was very professional that day and I liked the way he saw off a determined challenge by the runner up Inside Man with the rest a long way behind. I’m not sure he wants the ground too deep.

15:15 – Sonigino

He is back up to two and a half miles at Aintree after being a bit outpaced in the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham where he was flat out the whole way before doing all his best work late on as he stayed on well to finish fourth. He has run two solid races this season and has a nice chance at a trip that will play to his strengths.

Sonigino races in the 15:15 at Aintree, with the two and a half mile trip playing to his strengths

Sonigino races in the 15:15 at Aintree, with the two and a half mile trip playing to his strengths

Chepstow (Inspection 7.30am)

12.27 – Paddy de Pole

It’s good to be teaming up again with Mick Fitzgerald who rode See More Business to victory for me in the 1999 Cheltenham Gold Cup. Mick’s racing syndicate own Paddy de Pole who ended a busy first season in Irish Point-to-Point by winning at Belharbour in February. While I don’t know about the ground for him I’d say he is sure to improve for the experience.

13:37 – Quel Destin

He was outpaced the whole way at Ascot over two miles last time and goes to Exeter on Friday if it is on. But if Exeter is off then he will enjoy the longer trip over almost three miles at Chepstow. We know Quel Destin is at his best in the mud so he could run well.

14:12 – Take Your Time

He runs here after Wincanton was called off on Thursday. He was disappointing in three races over hurdles last winter on his comeback from injury but the plan was always for him to go chasing this season and he made a winning start in a novice handicap at Newton Abbot in October with the help of a determined ride from Harry Cobden. Take Your Time is a regular at Chepstow, has won at the track, stays very well and if he gets into a rhythm he should be competitive in this racing off a 3lbs higher mark.

14:47 – Isaac Des Obeaux

I was thrilled with the manner of his victory on his second start over hurdles at this track last month. He had learned plenty from his debut, led from the third flight and was in total command in the last half mile. He continues to thrive and though he has to carry a penalty it helps that Angus Cheleda can claim a valuable 5lbs.

15:20 – Hurricane Danny

He was big and backward last season and disappointed in his two bumpers. While he has needed time to mature he possesses plenty of size and scope and ran with promise when second to Isaac Des Obeaux on his second over hurdles at this course. Hurricane Danny is one of those horses that keep improving and definitely has a chance.

15:50 – Mount Gay Run

He ran all right when he was fourth on his debut for us in a bumper at Chepstow because he needed the race. He has improved plenty for it and I’m expecting him to run very well.

Best chance

Isaac Des Obeaux. 14.47. Chepstow. He looked good last time and can defy a penalty.

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