Cheltenham Chatter – Arp’s Looking Sharp!

Cheltenham is getting so close that ante-post bettors can almost taste the world’s most prestigious jumps meeting. The media continues to thrust microphones under the noses of the leading trainers, in the hunt for clues. Will loose lips lead to you making a bet, this week?

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Nicholls’ Horse Needs Numbers Around Him

Paul Nicholls won’t be losing any sleep, despite Arpege D’Alene finishing 4th out of 5 in the Reynoldstown Novice Chase. The Champion Trainer still sees him as a Festival prospect and expects the 7-year-old to benefit from racing in a big field.

“He never jumped, as you saw over the final three. He is a bit like that if he gets a bit of daylight or if he is a bit under pressure. Sean (Bowen) said even though he missed the second-last, he still he thought he would win going to the last.”, said Nicholls afterwards.

“He will probably still run in the four-miler (National Hunt Chase). It may sound stupid, but it hasn’t made his chances any different by doing that because in the four-miler there will be over 20 runners and he will get a bit of cover.

“He is better in handicaps with plenty of runners, rather than when he is a bit on the outside getting daylight. He is frustrating, but he will be fine. He is the sort where up at Ayr with 30 runners (Scottish Grand National) would suit him.”

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Tizzard’s Triple Threat

Colin Tizzard has an embarrassment of Gold Cup riches on his hands, as the big day approaches. Cue Card was outstanding in Saturday’s Ascot Chase and will be a lynchpin in Tizzard’s terrific trio, along with Thistlecrack and Native River.

“Cue Card is absolutely fine this morning.”, he said on Sunday.

“I thought his performance on Saturday was as perfect as you can get. On all known form he deserved to win, but that doesn’t mean they will. He travelled and jumped and came away in his own time, so we were delighted.

“We’re in a lovely position and now it’s a case of trying to get them all there in one piece. Every day will be a nervous day for the next few weeks, hoping something doesn’t go wrong. We just hope we don’t get any bad luck.”

Don’t forget that RaceBets is offering ‘Non-Runner No Bet’, if you want to make an ante-post wager!

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Henderson Has Options

Pundits have wasted little time in talking-up the prospects of Nicky Henderson’s Whisper, but the great man still hasn’t decided which race to point the Dipper Novices’ Chase-winner at.

“I want to talk to Davy Russell (retained rider for Walters), he can advise me on what he he thinks. If he is nearly favourite for the RSA that tells me something about the race. We have Top Notch in the JLT, but it is not the case that one horse makes a difference. It is a close call.”

Henderson’s mind is clearly made-up, regarding Josses Hill however and sounded untroubled about his inmate finishing last of 5 in the King George.

“The ground was too soft for him at Ascot and he will go straight to the Ryanair now. He has been 100 per cent since the King George and he worked well on Saturday. We have not thought beyond Cheltenham with him.”

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American To Carry Harry’s RSA Hopes

Harry Fry is purring over the progress of American, who followed-up victory at Exeter with a win in Listed company at Warwick last month. Those of you who have already backed him in our RSA Chase ante-post market will like what he had to say over the weekend.

“American is good and we have said all along we are taking it a day at a time. He worked well on Saturday morning and we will keep working forward towards the RSA in all probability, but we are not getting ahead of ourselves.

“It needs to be slow enough ground to run, purely just because he is fragile. It was a good performance of jumping at Warwick and it was one of the best performances of jumping you will see, what he did down the back straight.”

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Dover And Out

The incredible progress made by Cliffs Of Dover, since joining Paul Nicholls’ yard, indicated that he could have been a real star at this year’s Festival but it is not to be. A cruel injury, sustained in training, means we won’t be seeing anymore of the G2 winner for a while.

“Cliffs of Dover will miss the rest of the season after knocking a leg during a schooling session over hurdles just over a fortnight ago.”, lamented Nicholls.

“I was hoping the injury would have cleared up by now but unfortunately it is a bit more serious than we first thought. So he will not be going to Cheltenham for the Triumph Hurdle next month, which is a shame because he has been a revelation since joining us in the summer with a mark of only 64 on the Flat.

“Cliffs of Dover will have a nice long break now before he comes back into training in the autumn and we will aim to have him right for the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton.”

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