Sport Horse Racing

Monday 11 December 2017

Nicholls to enter Old Guard at Kempton

Trainer Paul Nicholls Photo:Getty
Trainer Paul Nicholls Photo:Getty

Graham Clark

Progressive hurdler Old Guard is to be given an entry in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton next Saturday.

Connections of the four-year-old are considering stepping him up in class for a shot at the Grade One two-mile prize which was won 12 months ago by subsequent Champion Hurdle hero Faugheen.

Since returning this season the Paul Nicholls-trained gelding has proven to be something of a revelation, winning all of his three starts at Cheltenham.

After landing a conditional jockeys' handicap on his seasonal return, Old Guard has since gone on to claim the Greatwood Hurdle and Grade Two International Hurdle.

Nicholls, meanwhile, is looking to step up the talented chaser Ptit Zig up to three miles in the near future.

The Ditcheat handler reports the six-year-old none the worse following his final-fence fall in the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon, won by former stablemate Al Ferof, earlier this month.

He said: "Ptit Zig was sore and had a bit of a nosebleed for a few days afterwards, but he is fine now.

"He certainly won't run in the King George, but I want to run him over three miles as I think he was just a bit outpaced at Huntingdon the other day."

Nicholls also reported that his Saphir Du Rheu is to undergo a breathing operation today after his lacklustre effort in the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot.

Today's scheduled fixture at Ayr was abandoned due to waterlogging while Bangor's meeting tomorrow must pass an inspection this morning.

With 19 millimetres of rain having fallen in the last 24 hours, the ground is currently heavy, waterlogged in places.

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