Nicholls content to fly under radar with Quel Destin

Triumph hope out to test strong favourite Sir Erec

  • Tuesday 26 February
  • News
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Paul Nicholls senses Quel Destin is heading to the JCB Triumph Hurdle under the radar, with all the attention focused on red-hot favourite Sir Erec.

Quel Destin has won his last five, including a Grade One at Chepstow, yet can still be backed at 8-1 for the juvenile championship event.

“He jumps well and he keeps galloping. He will gallop up that Cheltenham hill,” said Nicholls.

“I know Sir Erec is a short-priced favourite, but they will have to be tough to go past this lad because he has got it all. He might not have been a great Flat horse like Sir Erec, but he is proper jumping horse that keeps winning and getting better.

“He was very impressive at Haydock, and Sean (Bowen) was impressed with him.

“Just because he has not got that sexy Flat appeal that Sir Erec has, he is probably a bigger price than he should be. He can win on soft ground and quick ground – and we are excited about him.”

Another multiple winner for Nicholls this season has been Grand Sancy, who beat his elders in the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton last time out.

“He will run in the Supreme. He has had a great season. He has won his smaller races and he was just beaten in the Tolworth by Elixir De Nutz,” said Nicholls.

“We ran him the other day in the Kingwell Hurdle – and he won, beating Sceau Royal and Vision Des Flos who won the National Spirit at Fontwell on Sunday.

“He really toughed it out for a novice and is a proper horse now. He has come out of that race well.

“He is every bit as good as Al Ferof and Noland that won the Supreme for us, before and he is probably quite a big price. Al Dancer is favourite, and he is rated the same as him, and I wouldn’t say there is too much between them myself. ”

A race Nicholls tends to target is the Fred Winter, also for juveniles, and this year his chosen one is Friend Or Foe.

“He is one of the favourites for the Fred Winter, and it is a race we have done really well in in the past,” said Nicholls.

“He is a horse we thought might be a Fred Winter type when we brought him. He had two runs in the summer in France, and was fourth in both of them.

“He has got a mark of 128. We purposely have not run him since, because it is pointless going up another seven pounds. Off 128, the last three or four years he would get in the Fred Winter near the bottom of the weights. He went to Wincanton last week and galloped really nicely.”

Getaway Trump finished fourth in the Betfair Hurdle and is set to step up in trip – which may even be this weekend at Kelso.

“He really wants two and a half miles,” said Nicholls.

“My dilemma is which race to run him in. He is in at Kelso in a £50,000 novices’ hurdle – which is tempting – and if he did that, he would go to Aintree.

“I could run him in the Ballymore, but the Coral Cup off 143 is looking quite attractive. I’ve got to make a decision what I do with him, but I suspect we will run him in the Coral Cup. If Champ won the Ballymore, he is in the Coral Cup off 143, and he would be one of the leading lights.”

Nicholls is also making positive noises about Posh Trish’s prospects in the Dawn Run Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle.

“We’ve purposely not run her since Christmas, because she goes quite well fresh. She doesn’t need any experience. We’ve just kept her fresh to have one good go at the mares race – we think she has got a great chance.”

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Cheltenham 13:30, 12 March 2019

Cheltenham 13:30, 15 March 2019

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