Paul Nicholls shares his thoughts on his six runners on the first day of the Grand National meeting at Aintree  – as well as his seven other runners at Taunton on Thursday

  • The flat track at Aintree should suit Bravemansgame after Cheltenham setback
  • Ginny’s Destiny had a cracking run in the Turners Novices’ Chase at the Festival

Paul Nicholls has some great hopes on day one of the Grand National meeting at Aintree.

Ginny’s Destiny will seek to build on his impressive Cheltenham performance in the Manifesto Novices’ Chase.

Here, the Betfair ambassador shares his thoughts on his 13 runners at Aintree and Taunton on Thursday.


13:45 Ginny’s Destiny

Paul Nicholls has some great hopes on day one of the Grand National meeting at Aintree

Paul Nicholls has some great hopes on day one of the Grand National meeting at Aintree

He’s made giant strides since joining us this season, winning three times at Cheltenham before another cracking run when second to Grey Dawning in the Turners at the Festival. He will love the ground at Aintree and is in good shape. As with all of our ours who ran at Cheltenham no one can tell you for sure how they have come out of their races but they have had a nice, easy fortnight before we started tuning them up again. They did their last piece of work on Saturday and head to Aintree fresh and well.

14:20 – Kalif du Berlais

He’s a horse with a big future and maintained his unbeaten record with a determined success in the Adonis Hurdle at Kempton under a 5lbs penalty. It was always the plan to miss the Triumph Hurdle and wait for this race at Aintree. We’ve deliberately given him time and although this is a step up in class for him, he seems be improving physically and I think he is in better shape than he was before his last run.

14:55 – Bravemansgame

Things haven’t quite gone to plan for Bravemansgame this season. He hated the testing conditions at Cheltenham and it was clear from an early stage in the Gold Cup that he wasn’t handling them. The flat track at Aintree will suit him better and the ground shouldn’t be as deep as at Cheltenham. We are putting cheekpieces on Bravemansgame to help sharpen him up. It’s something we almost tried last time. His regular rider Scott Marshall was very pleased with the way he worked on Saturday morning.

16:05 – Cap du Mathan

He bounced back to form with an easy success down in grade last time at Leicester where he hacked up. He should give my daughter Olive a great spin over the National fences and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him run tidily. Although he would also probably prefer better ground it was very testing at Leicester.

Ginny's Destiny (R) had a cracking run in the Turners Novices' Chase at Cheltenham Festival

Ginny’s Destiny (R) had a cracking run in the Turners Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham Festival

16:40 – Sans Bruit

New to us this season he has plenty of decent form on soft ground in France and looked set to win over fences at Chepstow recently until he was caught close home. He has been raised 3lbs since then but is 2lbs out of the handicap so is effectivey running off his correct mark. He seems to be coming back to form and a fast run race round a tight track like Aintree will suit him very well.

17:15 – Jubilee Alpha

She made the perfect start to her career with a fluent success in a mares’ bumper at Wincanton where she was always prominent and strong at the finish. The first two that day looked smart and she deserves her chance in this better grade.


13.33 – Meatloaf

He won tidily at Wincanton in November before his jumping let him down when he was upped in class at Cheltenham. He’s been waiting for better ground and a decent run in this hot looking race should see him qualify for a valuable final at Sandown on the last day of the season.

14:08 – Pentire Head

He’s been steadily progressive until a below par run last time and he worked well on Tuesday morning in the blinkers that he will wear on Thursday. He has a nice chance.

14:43 – Soir de Gala

Inexperience might have cost him at Plumpton over Easter when he was narrowly beaten in his first handicap with the rest of the field miles behind. He’s running again quickly because he has been raised 7lbs but can race off his old mark until Saturday. That has forced my hand and hopefully this race doesn’t come too soon after Plumpton.

15:53 – Isaac des Obeaux

He’s a lovely chasing prospect for next season and has done well this season until he couldn’t handle the ground last time at Haydock which was attritional. I’ve forgiven him that and wish I’d withdrawn him that day. He’s fine now, the trip of three miles is ideal and his jockey Angus Cheleda has already won on him. I’m expecting a big run from Isaac Des Obeaux.

15:53 – Knowsley Road

He’s been struggling with his wind this season in his two runs over fences and has now has sugery to tidy that up. He really wants to be chasing but I can’t find a suitable race for him so he is having a spin over hurdles at Taunton before going back over fences at the start of the new season.

17:03 – Jena d’Oudairies

She has shown plenty of promise on both her starts, is going the right way and should again be be competitive with the 7lbs mares’ allowance and Freddie Gingell’s 5lbs claim.

The flat track at Aintree should suit Bravemansgame after his setback at Cheltenham

The flat track at Aintree should suit Bravemansgame after his setback at Cheltenham

17:35 – George Henry

He has come on nicely at home since he finished mid field on his debut in a bumper at Wincanton in November when he was a bit green and backward. But he wouldn’t want the ground too soft at Taunton and if conditions get really testing there I’d think twice about running him.

Best chance

Isaac Des Obeaux. 15.53. Taunton. I’m expecting him to bounce back over a trip that plays to his strengths.

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