Nicholls Swerving Cheltenham Festival With Monmiral


Leading trainer Paul Nicholls has made a bold claim with his juvenile hurdler Monmiral and has decided not to run him in the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham festival and instead go straight to Aintree for the Grand National meeting.

The four year old recruit from France has been foot perfect during his career, winning a 15 runner event at Auteuil and from there was bought by the familiar connections that own Clan Des Obeaux and gave the horse to Nicholls.

Since being in England with the Ditcheat trainer has raced the youngster twice, starting at Exeter in November where he went on to win fairly easy by close to six lengths.

He then went to Doncaster last time out stepping up in class to the Grade Two Juvenile Hurdle and he was a superb winner, going on to beat a superb field by 11 lengths and looking like a superstar in the making.

It looked the obvious next step for this horse to go into the first race on Gold Cup day at the Cheltenham festival, but Nicholls has admitted that he will not even be entered for the race and will instead go for Aintree’s Doom Bar Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle is by far this season’s preferred target.

(Credit ATR) “Monmiral goes to Haydock for the Victor Ludorum next, then on to Aintree,” said the champion trainer.

“He won’t even have an entry in the Triumph Hurdle.

“John Hales and the other guys are not interested in the Triumph Hurdle – they are interested in chasing.

“All those good horses I’ve had like Frodon and Clan Des Obeaux have finished down the field in the Triumph Hurdle – but they weren’t Triumph horses, and he is the same.”

Nicholls believes he is making the right decision with not sending him to Cheltenham and thinks the AIntree track will suit him much better.

He added: “The race at Aintree is worth a lot, and it will be a nice track for him.

“If you are going to be serious about chasing in the future, you have to mind him a bit. He wasn’t purchased for a Triumph Hurdle.”