Nicholls Dreaming Big With Bravemansgame After Challow Hurdle Rout

Paul Nicholls

11 time champion trainer Paul Nicholls is having a superb season being close to landing 100 winners for the term and having a superb Christmas period having won the King George VI Chase and the Challow Hurdle.

Tuesday's Challow Hurdle winner Bravemansgame was an emphatic victor of the Grade One event seeing off a decent field of runners by 10 lengths in conditions he had not encountered before and it left his trainer dreaming big with the expensive purchase, comparing him to his past stable star Denman.

Bravemansgame was a new recruit for the Paul Nicholls yard last season being bought for £370,000 at the Cheltenham sales at the 2019 festival and was given to the trainer.

The gelding was bought for this exceptional amount after running back in March over in Ireland at Lingstown in a point to point and he hosed up by seven lengths beating a field of 11 runners.

He raced twice in bumpers last season showing glimpses of ability but Nicholls always said anything he did last season was a bonus as he was bought to be a jumps horse.

Sent over hurdles this term the five year old mad a lovely start over obstacles with a good second behind the talented Soaring Glory for Jonjo O'Neill.

He used that run to get off the mark next time out by 11 lengths at Exeter in a fair event and backed that up at Newbury when stepping up in trip and seeing off another smart field, revelling in the extra distance.

Back over the same course and distance the gelding jumped brilliantly to run the field into submission and land his first Grade One event with ease, like Denman once did.

Nicholls will now follow the same route as Denman took over hurdles going for the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham festival and he is now the 6/1 favourite for the contest.

The Ditcheat handler is very excited with what is to come for Bravemansgame with the yard believing he will be an even better chaser next season and for now believes he is better over hurdles than the 2008 Gold Cup winner once was.

(Credit Racing Post) Nicholls said: "He's got it all, hasn't he?

"Next year he'll make a super chaser and he's not unlike Denman in his physique, size and how he does things – he's probably got a bit more boot than Denman – but it's just nice to be talking about this horse in the same breath as him.

"It'd be great if he turned out as good as Denman, but he's every bit as good at this stage of his career as Denman was at the same point.

"It's hard to draw comparisons with Denman, who really was a superstar, but he's heading that way."