Nicholls assembles strong squad for Greatwood Gold Cup

Champion trainer has fine record in Newbury handicap.

  • Friday 28 February
  • News
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Last year’s winner San Benedeto is one of three runners for Paul Nicholls, as the champion trainer bids to extend his excellent record in the William Hill Supporting Greatwood Gold Cup at Newbury.

The Ditcheat maestro has saddled nine of the last 13 winners of the Grade Three contest – and has his team firing on all cylinders ahead of this year’s renewal.

Bryan Carver takes 5lb off the back of the defending champion San Benedeto, while 3lb claimer Lorcan Williams has been booked to partner top-weight Secret Investor.

The narrow favourite is the Nicholls-trained Mont Des Avaloirs, who has filled the runner-up spot on his last couple of appearances at Ascot and Newbury and will be ridden by Bryony Frost.

“Newbury is smashing track and the Greatwood Gold Cup is always a competitive race and a good one to win,” said Nicholls.

“San Benedeto won off a 4lb lower mark last year. He goes well fresh, but would like better ground, to be honest.

“Bryan Carver takes off a very handy 5lb off him, and while I would think he has it all to do at the weights, he normally does come good at this time of year.

“Mont Des Avaloirs ran well off top-weight last time, although he was a bit keen and, in the end, the trip was a bit too far.

“I have always thought he would be better-suited by a bigger field in a fast-run handicap where he can get a bit of cover, so this race should suit him. I’ve had this race in mind for him for quite a long while and hopefully we will have a nice run.

“We thought long and hard about entering Secret Investor, because while he handles soft, he would be better on quicker ground than he is likely to get, he will carry top-weight and we are hoping that the ground does not come up any softer than it already is.”

Tom George’s recent Warwick winner Clondaw Castle, Dan Skelton’s Bennys King, the Sean Curran-trained Domaine De L’Isle and Enrichissant from David Bridgwater’s yard also feature in a 13-strong field.

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