Paul Nicholls proved myself and half of racing Twitter wrong with Cyrname’s win in the Charlie Hall. BetVictor are now at top price of 5/1 about him winning the King George on Boxing Day.

I must say I retain the faith in Vindication, my big price Gold Cup fancy. He slipped going into the first and I think the winner was very good. In the past we have all questioned Paul, however, he should yet again be admired for not only for getting it right, but for taking the chance.

Fans (including myself) often moan when trainers don’t roll the dice with a horse. Thanks to his style of race planning we get to see horses in his yard do amazing things.

Midweek Action can provide longer term prospects

Be it at Exeter on Tuesday or Newbury on Thursday, the midweek action over jumps has plenty of nice prospects running.

On paper, at the five-day stage, Newbury’s entry list for the beginners’ chase is particularly eye-catching. Nicky Henderson’s Champ won the race 12 months ago before going on to win the RSA Chase at The Festival.

Tuesday’s Haldon Gold Cup is another great example of a race that is usually a big day for locals in the South West. It offers a nice prize that will be fiercely contested.

Anthony Honeyball’s string are in fine form and an early entry for Friday at Fontwell catches the eye. Deja Vue is entered in the mares beginners’ chase and should relish the forecast softer going. I can see the race cutting up and she has run well at the track previously when finishing second over hurdles to BetVictor Brand Ambassador Jamie Snowden’s, Early Morning Rain.

The final horse to note this week for me is Dusart for Ronnie Bartlett. He is entered at Newbury both in a novice hurdle and the bumper which the yard had a one-two in last season. He’s related to Simonsig and if he wins just half of what that brilliant grey did, he will have quite the career.

Elliott Dominates Down Royal

As expected with the level of ammunition entered, Gordon Elliott had a brilliant two days at Down Royal. We saw plenty of his stars unleashed and the markets for the Festival have changed as a result.

The Friday card opened with an impressive win for Farouk D’alene. The same connections won this contest with Fury Road last year who then ran in plenty of decent races, ending the season finishing third in the Albert Bartlett. Farouk D’alene is 14/1 first show with BetVictor to follow the same path. He has the profile to be competitive in that kind of contest and will have the time to gather the required experience winners of the Bartlett often need.

The most breath-taking win of the weekend came from Envoi Allen. I dislike calling horses machines, but I think this horse will be a true star of the national hunt game in time. Already a duel Festival winner, he looks a natural over fences and I suspect he will go right to the top in the chasing game. The Marsh is his most like target where he remained an unchanged 9/4 favourite with BetVictor.

The final horse to mention from the Elliott empire is Sir Gerhard. The yard farm this bumper at Down Royal, winning it each year since 2015 with types like Death Duty and Malone Road. For all the effort was sensational you won’t find me in a hurry to take the 5/1 about him. The bumper is a race where it is best to at least wait to see what the other side of Irish jumps racing have to unleash. Mullins best types for the race won’t be out till the new year and this market could well see plenty of changes at the front end given the time of year we are at.

Odds are correct at the time of posting

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