Horse Racing By Jon Ivan-Duke

Nicholls Causes Cheltenham Stir

Paul Nicholls has caused a stir in the antepost markets for the Cheltenham Festival.

Politologue has been nominated as a potential runner in the Coral Cup and has been installed by William Hill at 14-1 for the traditionally competitive handicap hurdle.

"Paul Nicholls won the Coral Cup last year and clearly thinks Politologue could be in the same mould as Aux Ptits Soins,” said William Hill spokesman Jon Ivan-Duke.

Nicholls has also suggested Silviniaco Conti will get a World Hurdle entry and he’s 25-1 for glory in the stayers’ hurdle.

Meanwhile, Pacha Du Polder is destined to be ridden by Olympic Champion Victoria Pendleton in the St James's Place Foxhunter Chase. He's newly priced at 25-1 with William Hill.

"Victoria Pendleton knows how to perform at big sporting occasions and Cheltenham Festival is racing's Olympics," said William Hill spokesman Jon Ivan-Duke. "Perhaps she can claim gold."

However, Nicholls will have to pull out all the stops to top the trainers’ standings at the Cheltenham Festival – he’s 7-1 to have the most winners.

Nicholls is drifting for the NH Trainers’ Title as well – he’s now 4-7 from 1-2, while Willie Mullins has been backed in to 13-8 from 15-8.

UK National Hunt Trainers’ Championship: 4-7 Paul Nicholls, 13-8 Willie Mullins, 10-1 Nicky Henderson, 16-1 Philip Hobbs, 50-1 Dan Skelton, 66-1 Colin Tizzard, Jonjo O’Neill

2016 Cheltenham Festival – Top Trainer: 1-8 Willie Mullins, 7-1 Nicky Henderson, Paul Nicholls, 33-1 Philip Hobbs, 50-1 David Pipe, Jonjo O’Neill, (Winner is the trainer with the most winners, with 2nds, then 3rds taken into account in the event of a tie; dead heat rules will apply if still a tie)

Coral Cup: 14-1 Diamond King, Politologue, 20-1 Ibis Du Rheu, Leave At Dawn, Lil Rockerfeller, Modem, Nabucco, Renneti, Sort It Out, 25-1 Karezak, San Benedeto, (EW ¼ Odds Places 1,2,3,4)

St James’s Place Foxhunter Steeple Chase: 9-2 On The Fringe, 11-2 Long Run, Prince De Beauchene, 8-1 Marito, Mendip Express, 10-1 Oscar Barton, 14-1 Paint The Clouds, 16-1 Moroman, 25-1 Pacha Du Polder, (EW 1/5 Odds Places 1,2,3)

World Hurdle: 9-4 Thistlecrack, 6-1 Annie Power, 7-1 Cole Harden, 8-1 Vroum Vroum Mag, 9-1 Camping Ground, 14-1 Alpha Des Obeaux, Aux Ptits Soins, Windsor Park, 16-1 Saphir Du Rheu, 20-1 Martello Tower, Prince Of Scars, 25-1 Kilcooley, Ptit Zig, Silviniaco Conti, Un Temps Pour Tout, Whisper, 33-1 Bobs Worth, Briar Hill, Irving, Top Notch, 40-1 At Fishers Cross, Medinas, 50-1 Call The Cops, Renneti, (EW ¼ Odds Places 1,2,3 – NRMB)

Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup: 7-2 Djakadam, 5-1 Don Cossack, 11-2 Vautour, 6-1 Don Poli, 7-1 Cue Card, 10-1 No More Heroes, 12-1 Road To Riches, 25-1 Holywell, 33-1 O’Faolains Boy, Smad Place, 40-1 Many Clouds, Saphir Du Rheu, Seeyouatmidnight, 50-1 Sir Des Champs, Triolo D’Alene, Valseur Lido, 66-1 Al Ferof, Carlingford Lough, Champagne West, Gilgamboa, Lord Windermere, Morning Assembly, Wounded Warrior, 100-1 Boston Bob, First Lieutenant, Irish Cavalier, On His Own, Rocky Creek, The Giant Bolster, Virak, 150-1 Ballycasey, Roi Du Mee, (EW ¼ Odds Places 1,2,3 - NRMB)