Alex Dudley | @@Alex_Dudz_


Afadl will take his chance in the County Hurdle for Paul Nicholls. The five-year- old will be a considerable outsider in the betting, but he did produce a career- best effort at Musselburgh on his previous effort, meaning he comes into Cheltenham in solid form.

However, he could have form to find at the track after being pulled up on his previous start in the Greatwood Handicap Hurdle. That means he has failed to finish in the top three from three attempts at the track.


Bravemansgame was a much shorter price for the Gold Cup in 2023, but he retains plenty of high-class form, and connections are bullish about his chances of another big effort.

The nine-year-old has finished second on each of his three starts this season, including most recently in the G1 King George on Boxing Day. He has more questions to answer this year than he did last year, and has plenty to find on Galopin Des Champs. But, there could be worse each-way bets at the Festival.

Captain Teague

Captain Teague could be the best chance of a winner for the Nicholls team at Cheltenham this year, and he holds entries for both the Baring Bingham Novices’ Hurdle and Albert Bartlett. The market would suggest a run in the latter appears to be the preferred option.

He could be a six-year-old with an excellent chance, as he holds high-class form since his third in the Champion Bumper last season. He goes well at Cheltenham ater finishing second at the course in November. Captain Teague was last seen finishing a length clear of Lookaway in the G1 Challow on December 30.

Ginny's Destiny

Ginny’s Destiny has high-class form in novice company throughout this season, and he should have leading claims for the Nicholls team in the Turners Novices’ Chase. He could also yet run in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase.

The eight-year-old goes well at Cheltenham, having won over an extended two miles and four at the track on each of his previous three starts. His win by just under a length from Grey Dawning could yet prove to be the key form line for many at the Festival. Goes to Cheltenham with a massive chance.


Hitman will take his chances in the Ryanair Chase at the Festival this year, but the eight-year-old is a big price after a challenging season. He was last seen over an extended two miles and seven on heavy ground at Newbury chasing Shishkin home in the G2 Denman Chase.

The drop back in trip could be a slight concern based on his runs this season, including ninth from 13 in a handicap chase over course and distance in January.

Il Ridoto

Il Ridoto is very much a horse that excels at Cheltenham for the Nicholls team, and he is likely to run his race in the Plate Handicap Chase over an extended two miles and four. The seven-year-old is pretty expensive to follow for win purposes, having landed just two victories from 17 starts over fences.

However, he is consistent enough to suggest that a place finish isn’t out of the question. He’s already run with a lot of credit at Cheltenham this year, including over course and distance when a very close second behind Fugitif in the December Gold Cup.


Liari could be an interesting outsider at the Festival for the Nicholls team, with the four-year-old holding entries for both the Boodles and Triumph Hurdle. He has done a lot right on track to this point, winning on all three starts since moving from France.

He was last in action at Musselburgh, landing a five-length success over Roaring Legend. Testing ground could be in his favour, meaning he could hold solid claims if the rain comes.


Monmiral will be the leading Nicholls chance in the Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle at the Festival. The seven-year-old qualified for the race at Chepstow at the end of February, finishing an eye-catching fourth behind Classic Concorde.

He has won five from ten starts over hurdles, and he could be a very interesting contender after not taking to fences at the start of the season. Plenty of solid form at Cheltenham, and could be one that’s hard to completely dismiss.


Quebecois will represent the Nicholls yard in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham. The five-year-old made a winning start under rules at Exeter in mid-December, travelling well on soft ground before speeding away from the field to win by over four lengths from Matthias.

However, it appears challenging to assess the depth of that form, and he could be vulnerable to one of the leading Irish chances. But, deserves respect following the run from yard in this race last year.


Sonigino will have two options available for the Festival, with the seven-year-old holding entries for both the Coral Cup and Martin Pipe. He has recent experience at Cheltenham, running into a commendable fourth in the Greatwood Handicap in November.

That form reads pretty strong, and he got his nose ahead when winning at Aintree over two miles and four in December. A return to good ground didn’t suit him when 12th of 19 at Kempton last time out. One to keep on side if track conditions are tough.

Stage Star

Stage Star will be among the leading fancies for the Ryanair Chase this year, and the eight-year-old could be hard to oppose. He has form to find on Banbridge after finishing 15 lengths behind the current market leader in the G1 Manifesto Novices’ Chase last year.

However, soft ground form and his Cheltenham experience are both big pluses. Stage Star landed the Turners Novices’ Chase at the Festival last year, and was a winner over two miles and four in the Paddy Power Gold Cup in November. May be best to forgive his run on very heavy ground when carrying top weight on New Year’s Day.

Stay Away Fay

Stay Away Fay will represent the Nicholls team in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham. The seven-year-old has a lot of trends in his favour for the Festival, including the fact that he was a very commanding winner of the Albert Bartlett last year.

He has made an excellent start to life as a chaser winning over three miles in novice company before finishing third of six in the G2 Cotswold Chase. That run in open company last time out could be the best piece of form on offer in the Brown Advisory. Ticks plenty of boxes.


Teeshan has been the big talking horse from the Nicholls yard over the last couple of months and he will likely be the team’s most likely chance in the Champion Bumper.

He has been well found in the betting since opening his account under rules at Exeter with a seventh length win over Peacenik. Was a winner of a point-to-point by 41 lengths, highlighting that he has a very bright future.

Welcom To Cartries

Welcom To Carties could be a runner for the Nicholls team in the Albert Bartlett if Captain Teague opts for the Baring Bingham.

The six-year-old has won once from three starts over hurdles, and was last seen when finishing second but seven lengths behind Kerryhill over an extended three miles at Doncaster. There is clear talent, but he is yet to piece it all together.