SUN Racing tipster Steve Mullen returns with the second in his series of Cheltenham Festival prospects to track this jumps season.
Our racing guru highlighted Ferny Hollow last week – and this week takes a look at Paul Nicholls' yard.
The 12-time champion trainer will be desperate to make amends for the mauling British trainers took at the 2021 Festival.
And it seems like he could have a key contender in ending the Irish dominance on his hands.
This potential superstar is the first horse of the new jumps season to be talked of as a serious Cheltenham prospect.
He was third in the Ballymore over hurdles at last year’s Festival before a good second in the Aintree Hurdle when sent off a well-backed favourite.
A four-runner novice chase at Newton Abbot in October doesn’t often live long in the memory but it was good to see one of the top novice hurdlers of last season make the transition to chasing so smoothly.
He wasn’t beating trees in Fusil Raffles and The Big Breakaway with the latter coming a cropper when staying on at the last fence.
Harry Cobden had him out in front and he jumped really well. His engine was a clear asset over the extended two and a half miles.
Trainer Paul Nicholls is already thinking about the 2022 King George!
With many yards you’d say that was a bold statement but the champion has won the Boxing Day highlight more than any other handler so knows exactly what it takes.
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And he knew what he was doing when comparing Bravemansgame to Denman who had a similar hurdling career ahead of becoming one of the all-time chasing greats. Nicholls thinks the Newton Abbot win was more impressive than ‘The Tank’ was on debut.
We’ll see him in the Rising Stars Novices’ Chase at Wincanton next month where we’ll find out if he can build on this encouraging effort.
Nicholls has used that as a stepping stone for some smart chasers with Frodon winning it in 2016.
Looking to next March, the Festival Novice Chase is the logical target and some bookies already make him 6-1 favourite from 20s although there is still some 10s about.
We’ll know a lot more after Wincanton early next month.
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