Paul Nicholls Cheltenham Day 1 Entries: Frodon to go in the Ultima

Will Paul Nicholls have something to smile about on Day 1 of the Cheltenham Festival?
Will Paul Nicholls have something to smile about on Day 1 of the Cheltenham Festival?

Paul Nicholls is coming off the back of his first winless Cheltenham Festival since 2002 and he has just three entries on Day 1 as he looks to get back into the Winners’ Enclosure this year. We take a look at his chances to win on Tuesday…

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There is no doubt that the biggest name the 11-time British Jumps Racing Champion Trainer is planning on sending out is the ten-year-old Frodon in the Grade 3 Ultima Handicap Chase. The winner of the Ryanair back in 2019 is one of his most recognisable names from his stable having also tasted victory in the King George VI Chase at Kempton back on Boxing Day in 2020.

The decision to enter him for the Ultima came as a surprise to many - including jockey Bryony Frost - who has been in the irons for Frodon’s past 18 races. The final decision however will come down to the ground as if it is soft, expect him to be withdrawn as Nicholls wasn’t happy with his run at Down Royal on similar ground nor his work at Wincanton. Winning at 164 on soft ground would be a tough ask but should the weather be kind, this is a great chance to get an early winner on the week.

Threeunderthrufive had been cross-entered at the Festival but the McNeill family are leaning towards the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase so we didn't expect him to start on Tuesday and that has been confirmed. This super talented seven year-old has won eight times from 12 starts and has a four-race win streak going into Cheltenham. When you consider his owners considered him for the Gold Cup itself, that shows just how much they think of this horse. It is clear just how much the trainer thought he had an excellent chance in this race but will send him out a day later instead.

This leaves Bell Ex One in the Fred Winter as the other horse with a realistic shot to challenge if you believe the betting markets. This four-year-old will be making his debut for Paul Nicholls having been moved to his stable from R P Cody’s following the change in ownership. He was purchased for £110,000 in December and a win here could repay that investment pretty much immediately. Three wins from four over in Ireland has given a great indication that he’s one to watch and bet on certainly if he sticks to a Starting Price around the 14/1 mark, which he is at the point of writing.

Nicholls also has a longshot in the Supreme where Silent Revolution will get a run.

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