Friday, 27 October 2017

Showcase Day One: Paul Nicholls and Alan King share confidence for novice clash

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Paul Nicholls expects Movewiththetimes to make a winning chasing debut, as he features in an exceptional race card in the opening day of the Showcase meeting at Cheltenham.

The Showcase meeting is the first raceday at Cheltenham this season, and we will have regular content to the build-up, and in, the Cheltenham Festival.

Movewiththetimes missed out on last year’s Supreme Novice Hurdle, capping off his season with a second place finish in Newbury’s Betfair Hurdle.

The six-year-old remains a smart prospect now switched to the larger obstacles.

“Obviously he was a nice horse last year and he did very well,” Nicholls said.

“He won his bumper, then he won his first novice hurdle.

"We ran him at Cheltenham in November and it didn't work out, but he ran really well in the Betfair and was only beaten three-quarters of a length.

"He didn't make Cheltenham (in March) as he had a minor setback, but he is now fine. I hope he will be a really nice novice chaser.

"I think we start over the two, but he will probably get a little bit further. He looks a sound jumper and has been jumping nicely at home."

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Alan King's Sceau Royal won by four and a half lengths on his chasing debut

Sceau Royal, who made a winning debut over fences at Warwick a fortnight ago, looks the main danger. He finished sixth in last season’s Champion Hurdle for Alan King.

”Sceau Royal was a high-class hurdler last season and though not the biggest, he was very slick over his obstacles, and his schooling was again exemplary when we were preparing him for the switch,” King told his website.

“He jumped well at Warwick and had the scope to get from A-B when going a bit long at a couple of fences down the back, so tackling Cheltenham fences will be valuable experience if our Festival dream is to become reality.

“We won’t be overdoing things through the winter as he doesn’t want testing ground, but this looks a decent contest and he has the penalty to carry, so I’m looking forward to seeing how he copes with that and the step up in class.”

North Hill Harvey who won last year’s Greatwood Hurdle for Dan Skelton is another chasing debutant this afternoon.

Patrick Griffin’s Chitu has won three times over fences, including an impressive seven length victory at Towcester a fortnight ago.

Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Ballyhill and Colin Tizzard’s Mick Thonic take their place alongside outsider Presenting William.

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