Nicholls goes to Cheltenham Festival with Bravemansgame and ‘wouldn’t trade’ | Horse racing news
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Bravemansgame: Compelling in the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase
Alan Crowhurst / Getty Images
Bravemansgame is now likely to take place at the Cheltenham Festival, according to coach Paul Nicholls, who insists he would not “trade” the two-time Grade 1 winner for one of his possible rivals in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase.
The seven-year-old extended his unbeaten three-way fence run with a comfortable sacking of Ahoy Senor in the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase in Kempton over Christmas.
Nicholls had warned shortly after the race that he might not take part in the festival, but a trip to Cheltenham in March appears to be the plan at this point.
Bravemansgame, owned by John Dance and Bryan Drew, is no bigger than 4-1 for the Brown Advisory, but Galopin Des Champs has moved to 6-4 favoritism after a stunning start to the chase at Leopardstown recently. Nicholls, however, is up to the challenge.
Kauto Star Novices: Shades of Denman’s Chase Report Says Nicholls Is The “Mighty” Bravemansgame On The Road To Victory
“He’s fine, he’s A1,” the champion’s coach said on Sunday. “I still need to sit down and have a chat with the guys, but I think that’s probably where we’re going to be heading.
“It’s not set in stone, he will be entered in both races at two and a half. [Turners] and three miles [Brown Advisory]. We’ll almost probably run more than three miles unless it’s very, very taxing. That’s sort of where we’re headed.
“He’s undefeated in jumps, he’s now won his second Rank 1, jumps well and has the right profile. It’s a hot division as always and as you always expect, but we wouldn’t trade it for anything. That’s how we see it, but it’s far away and a lot can happen in the meantime. “
Nicholls has made comparisons between Bravemansgame and its 2008 Gold Cup hero Denman, and he could follow a similar route to Cheltenham on his way to a pre-race in Newbury on February 12.
The 2m7½f Novice Handicap Pursuit of this card is a potential option and the coach added, “I’ll just think about it. I would have loved to go to Newbury for the Novice Pursuit on Betfair Hurdle Day but it became a novice It’s a possibility I guess and there are other options, but we haven’t made up our minds yet.
“A lot of our horses will get their flu shots now and then have a few easy weeks, so we can think about plans around mid-January. “
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Stage Star: shone at Newbury in the Challow
The Owners Group Stage Star has been another of the Nicholls battalions to shine over the holiday season, and Cheltenham’s Ballymore Novices Hurdle remains the target of Challow’s convincing winner.
“He will have an entry in the Supreme and the Ballymore,” Nicholls said.
“He would only go to the Supreme if it was very taxing, he’s a two-and-a-half-mile horse. I didn’t discuss whether we went straight to it or not.”
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