sport

Nicholls considers early season

Paul Nicholls has pinpointed several of his big-name horses like Silviniaco Conti and Sanctuaire for events this side of Christmas.

The champion trainer says a decision is "still to be made" as to whether the multiple Grade One winner Kauto Star will stay in training this season, after being pulled-up on his most recent start in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, but he cantered 123 horses on Tuesday and still has strength in his team.

"I think I have about 40 new horses in total, and a few babies in the pre-training and satellite yards ready to come in and replace the summer horses when they go for their break," said Nicholls.

"As for the early season targets for the big races I have Silviniaco Conti pencilled in for the Charlie Hall, Join Together and Cristal Bonus for Down Royal, and Sanctuaire for the Tingle Creek.

"I could name you at least four possibles for the Betfair Chase next month, dependent on their form and fitness and the ground - Tidal Bay, Silviniaco Conti, Join Together and Cristal Bonus - and any of those could be aimed at Kempton on Boxing Day too, along with the likes of Kauto Stone and Al Ferof (who could possibly start off in the Peterborough Chase)."

Nicholls also told his Betfair column: "Don't forget the likes of Tataniano (set to reappear in a fortnight in the Chepstow race he won last year), and the five-year-old Edgardo Sol.

"Pacha Du Polder is being considered for the Old Roan and he could be a big improver this season.

"And Harry The Viking is being aimed at a 100,000 handicap chase at Ascot on November 3."