Tom Dascombe's classy six-year-old was second to City Light in this race last year and broke the six-furlong track record on his return to the Polytrack here in February. His main rival could be the Hugo Palmer-trained Encrypted, who held on to win a competitive Listed event at the Surrey course last November. The four-year-old also has Ryan Moore in the saddle as a bonus.
AMADE (2.00, nb) is another who looks head and shoulders above his rivals in the two-mile Betway All-Weather Marathon. Trained by Guiseppe Botti, uncle of Newmarket trainer Marco, the five-year-old is winner of five long-distance events on the trot, including the last four on the all-weather. Christophe Soumillon's mount may have most to fear from Spark Plug, who surprised Verdana Blue in a Listed mile-and-a-half event at Kempton in December.
OH THIS IS US (4.45, treble) looks the value in an open-looking Sun Racing All-Weather Mile. The six-year-old has some high-class form on turf, having finished second to Ostilio in the Group Two Prix Daniel Wildenstein on Arc weekend. He ran poorly in a Listed event at Wolverhampton last time, but trainer Richard Hannon put that down to the Tapeta surface, which the horse hated, having won going away in a mile handicap on the Lingfield Polytrack prior to that.
Horse racing tips
1.50 THE CRUISING LORD
2.20 ZULU ZANDER
2.55 WEST END CHARMER
3.30 SALUTE THE SOLDIER
5.05 THE DALEY EXPRESS
2.00 AMADE (nb)
2.30 CASTLE HILL CASSIE
3.05 KACHY (nap)
3.40 DEEP INTRIGUE
4.45 OH THIS IS US (treble)
1.40 LADY KERMIT
2.10 ROCKET ACTION
2.45 GLOBAL WARNING
3.20 MARIE'S DIAMOND
3.55 FORBIDDEN PLANET
4.55 KEY TO POWER
Horse racing news:
Paul Nicholls became only the third trainer to saddle 3,000 winners over jumps after Kupatana landed the EBF Mares’ Chase at Cheltenham yesterday in the hands of Harry Cobden.
Nicholls, on the brink of making it an 11th trainers’ championship, joins Martin Pipe and Nicky Henderson in reaching this historic landmark.
Pipe holds the record for training the most jump winners with 3,930 winners before he retired in 2006.
The fiercely competitive Nicholls, never one to rest on his laurels, said: “We won’t be slowing up – we’ll try to get to the 4,000-winner mark now!
“It’s been an amazing journey to get my 3,000th and at Cheltenham – brilliant. Obviously, it's a great landmark and something to be very proud of.”
Nicholls, who celebrated his 57th birthday on Wednesday, has achieved his success from dogged determination and sheer hard graft.
He enjoyed a successful career in the saddle, highlighted by back-to-back success in the Hennessy Gold Cup with Broadheath in 1986 and Playschool the following year, but weight problems forced an early retirement.
Despite a lack of funds and horses, Nicholls embarked on training career in 1991 at Paul Barber’s farm in Ditcheat, Somerset. Success quickly followed and a golden period was enjoyed when winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup four times, with See More Business in 1999, Denman in 2008 and Kauto Star in 2007 and 2009.
He followed those successes with victory in the 2012 Grand National with Neptune Collonges.
Nicholls, who famously coated the doughnuts when working in a bakery with salt rather than sugar so that he was sacked, clearly was never destined to be a baker but he is an undisputed master of the training profession.