Family effort as Nicholls clan eye November Handicap again

Birds Of Prey returns to Doncaster for Flat finale.

  • Tuesday 05 November
  • News
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Champion National Hunt trainer Paul Nicholls will team up with his daughter Megan as Birds Of Prey attempts to win the November Handicap at Doncaster.

The trainer-jockey family combination was fourth with Birds Of Prey in the race 12 months ago, behind Royal Line, and the five-year-old returns to Town Moor on the final day of the Flat turf season on the same handicap mark.

He is twice a winner over hurdles since – and if this weekend’s switch back to the Flat works, the Nicholls would be winning their biggest prize together.

“He is going to run in the November Handicap on Saturday,” said Nicholls senior.

“He needed the run the other day at Kempton over hurdles.

“He ran well in the race last year to finish fourth and he is off the same mark as well. Whatever he does on Saturday – win, lose or draw – it will bring him forward to run in a good handicap hurdle in a month’s time.”

Kevin Ryan is banking on Bielsa to sign off for the season in style at Doncaster in Saturday’s Wentworth Stakes.

The four-year-old has won four of his five career starts, with his only defeat coming on Town Moor in the Portland on the St Leger card.

He showed that display to be all wrong, though, when returning to Doncaster to win impressively last time out – relishing heavy ground, which will stand him in good stead this weekend.

“He’s done very little wrong all season,” Ryan told Sky Sports Racing.

“Obviously the Portland was disappointing – whether just coming back half a furlong took him out of his comfort zone, I don’t know – but on his last run, he won very nicely and he’s ready to take a step up now.

“The ground was quite testing last time – so he’ll have no issue with the ground, and he seems in good form with himself.

“We’ll also run Major Jumbo, who always runs his race – he doesn’t know how to run a bad race.”

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