And so we returned to Cheltenham for a new season, but some things never seem to change – Paul Nicholls turning out the winners up and down the country. On a day where ITV Racing began some so called dress rehearsals, and despite the card lacking much real quality there was an air of anticipation that was answered to with some great racing. Thomas Campbell won on his debut over the hurdles and looks a nice exciting horse for Nicky Henderson, but it was Nicholls that dominated the card with three winners back at Cheltenham.
2 45 MARRACUDJA (P Nicholls) 3/1, C2 Novices Chase, 2M, Good
Nicholls has really started the season in full swing, and by our calculations has 24 winners from just under 50 runners in October so far; some feat. Although it was far from a perfect run from Marracudja over the fences, he was somehow just about always in command despite racing very freely. It was a tight finish, with Marracudja holding on by a head as he battled bravely showing another side to his abilities. He goes 2/2 over the fences now and and with a lot of learning still do on and off the track, beating a sold handicapper such as Presenting Arms shows there is definitely potential there. He had many a encouraging run over hurdles last season, but for this 5YO chasing may yet bring out the best in him.