Friday 15 December 2017

Scottish treble caps great weekend for Nicholls

Trainer Paul Nicholls. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Trainer Paul Nicholls. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Thomas Kelly

Paul Nicholls took the honours at Musselburgh's big two-day meeting by taking his tally to five with a 36/1 treble following his double there on Saturday.

The Ditcheat handler and jockey Sam Twiston-Davies struck with the terrific trio of Frodon, San Benedeto and El Bandit.

The latter is set to head to Cheltenham after the 15/2 shot got up in the shadow of the post to pip Arthurs Secret by a short head in the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle.

"It's the Pertemps Final for El Bandit now. He is a really smart horse. He won a couple of nice races in the autumn and he did that well." said Nicholls' assistant, Harry Derham.

"He had a couple of battles in the autumn at Cheltenham and Chepstow. He's a young, improving horse and keeps getting better.

"I've always thought he was a real stayer and he showed that up the straight.

"It's been a really good day. Paul sent them up here for good ground and we've been well-rewarded."

Frodon (4/9 favourite) had little difficulty landing the odds in the totepool Scottish Future Champions Novices' Chase.

After being edgy at the start, the five-year-old settled in front beautifully and put in a solid clear round as he scored by nine lengths.

Twiston-Davies said of Frodon's antics: "He gets like that sometimes. It's been a while since his last run so he was good and fresh. It was as good a ground as he's run on for a long time. He could have done with a bit more cut, but he put up a good performance today and jumped brilliant."

San Benedeto (2/1) proved too good for the opposition in the totepool Scottish Champion Handicap Chase.

After making some of the early running, San Benedeto lost several lengths with bad mistake at the sixth fence.

However, Twiston-Davies gave his mount time to recover and was well in command in the closing stages as he came home eight lengths clear of Witness In Court.

Twiston-Davies said: "We thought he might be better on softer ground, but he's gone round here over a sharp two miles on decent ground and won nicely. We'll probably have a look at the Greatwood at Newbury over two and a half. A fast-run race there might suit him, but I guess that lies in the handicapper's hands."

Trainer Charlie Longsdon and jockey Brian Hughes shared a brace with Tree Of Liberty and Monbeg Charmer doing the business.

Like several winners on the card, Monbeg Charmer (100/30) made all the running as kept pulling out more to lift the Albert Bartlett Scottish Trial Novices' Hurdle over three miles.

The six-year-old was never clear of his field, but he travelled well throughout and scored cosily by two and three-quarter lengths from Soupy Soups.

Longsdon said: "Saddling him was a nightmare and down at the start he was very on his toes.

"He's just a baby still and gets wound up. Brian came in and said he is a potential Festival horse, but it might not be this year. We'll see."

Tree Of Liberty (5/1) also led from start to finish when causing a minor upset in the totepool Novices' Hurdle, while Nico de Boinville gave Lough Derg Spirit (7/4) a positive ride from the front to claim the Sky Bet Supreme Scottish Trial Novices' Hurdle.

After stealing a few lengths on the turn for home, the Nicky Henderson-trained five-year-old kept up the gallop to hold the 10/11 favourite, Peter The Mayo Man, by two and a half lengths.

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