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14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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Ferof charged up for PowerHeadlines
Al Ferof

Paul Nicholls hopes Al Ferof can start as he means to go on in the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham.

The grey paid the penalty for trying to force the pace against Sprinter Sacre in the Arkle in March and was then beaten at Aintree, but the champion trainer retains the faith.

"He goes well fresh, he jumped well for Ruby (Walsh) in the week. While it's a tough task at the weights, if he's going to be a genuine Grade One winner of the future he has to be going close off that mark - and the same applies to Grands Crus," said the Ditcheat handler.

"If you look at his form with For Non Stop in the Henry VIII, that's good form. He also ran very well in a Grade One (Victor Chandler) at Ascot against Somersby. He made a mistake in the Arkle which ruled him out of that race and he was over the top by Aintree, so I've put a line through his spring form."

Walsh feels Al Ferof is the right type of horse for the race, telling At The Races: "You need a Graded horse to win it. It's a handicap in a word but not many handicappers win it. They tend to be Graded horses.

"Al Ferof has plenty of weight to give. He has to give Grands Crus 2lb. That shouldn't make much difference, but Grands Crus will be hard to beat and the team at Pond House are bullish.

"You look at Al Ferof's Supreme Novices' form. He is a Grade One horse. If he is going to be a King George horse this season he'll have to go pretty close on Saturday."

Owner John Hales is still on a high after winning the Grand National with Neptune Collonges, but is eyeing more big-race glory, saying: "He has raced over two and a half miles before and done very well. We have our eye on the King George, which he has an entry for.

"If he runs well over two and a half at Cheltenham, that would be the equivalent of three miles on a flat track like Kempton. Paul will make a decision about his next target after the Paddy Power."

Divers was third in the race 12 months ago, and trainer Ferdy Murphy said: "He's in great form. He schooled on Tuesday and worked well on Wednesday. I'm very happy with him. It's a hot contest, but that is exactly what you would expect for the good money on offer."

14 February 2016

No Haydock outing for The Druids Nephew
Dan Skelton keeping faith with Three Musketeers
Nicky Henderson left scratching his head after L'Ami Serge defeat
Take Cover in line for Lingfield return
Catterick forced to inspect
Ed de Giles favours Fred Winter for Akavit
No jumping at Lingfield on Tuesday
Green light for Exeter
Lizzie Kelly has eye for the big time as Agrapart takes Newbury prize
Sempre Medici strikes under Ruby Walsh to take Gowran honours
Dodging Bullets gunned down by Top Gamble at Newbury
L'Ami Serge floored at Warwick by Violet Dancer
Houblon Des Obeaux dominates Denman Chase at Newbury
Smashing effort gives Henry de Bromhead Gowran glory
Open Eagle soars at Warwick for Willie Mullins
Dan Skelton looks to Aintree with Newbury winner Meet The Legend
Jessica Harrington expects Ttebbob to show true colours in Flyingbolt at Navan

13 February 2016

Count Guido Deiro outstays his rivals
Ben Pauling thrilled with Barters Hill as Cheltenham Festival looms large
Black Hercules set to star in Ten Up at Navan
Tuesday's Lingfield card subject to Sunday inspection
Nicky Henderson's Buveur D'Air looks to book Supreme place at Exeter
Jonjo O'Neill has high hopes for Taquin Du Seuil on Warwick return
Josses Hill peaks at Kempton for red-hot Nico de Boinville
Willie Mullins seeking more Gowran gains with Sempre Medici
Nicky Henderson joy at 'perfect' My Tent Or Yours Kempton workout
Open Eagle seeking to book Cheltenham ticket at Warwick
Tony Martin and Dedigout target Boyne brace at Navan
Paul Nicholls hoping Dodging Bullets can fire in Newbury return
Rocky Creek aiming to regain winning thread as he tackles Denman date at Newbury
L'Ami Serge aiming to book Arkle ticket in Kingmaker test at Warwick
Connections hoping Blazer is tailor-made for Betfair test

12 February 2016

Kempton scorer Josses Hill back in business for Nicky Henderson
Victoria Pendleton to gain more point-to-point experience
Morning chasing Red Mills glory at Gowran
Willie Mullins seeking more Gowran gains with Sempre Medici
Harry Bentley joins Roger Varian's Newmarket team
Oisin Murphy sidelined by broken collar bone
Martin Lane sidelined following Kempton fall
My Tent Or Yours to have Kingwell prep at Kempton
Top Notch handed Morebattle Kelso aim
Exeter call precautionary check for Sunday card
Market Rally repels British raiders to claim UAE Guineas gold at Meydan
Ma Du Fou strikes Listed gold for Warren Greatrex at Huntingdon
David Pipe mulling Festival hurdles switch with Kings Palace
Winter Escape on Aintree trail following Doncaster victory for Alan King
National aims for Kerry Lee's trio of star staying chasers
Nico de Boinville keen on Altior Cheltenham chance
Willie Mullins considering Punchestown test for Annie Power
Tom George issues ground warning ahead of God's Own Kempton spin
Jonjo O'Neill swerves Newbury with More Of That

11 February 2016

Bangor and Uttoxeter beaten by weather
Mags Mullins sets sights on Cheltenham Festival with Thurles winner Ballychorus
Ma Du Fou cashes in with Banks success at Huntingdon
Tom George earmarks Doncaster prep for Grand National hope Saint Are
Willie Mullins set to chart direct Cheltenham route with Annie Power
Tracey Collins joy at Captain comeback at Dundalk
Blazer features in five-pronged Willie Mullins Newbury raid
Uttoxeter makes early call to abandon Saturday fixture
Ruby Walsh left deflated by Killultagh Vic injury
Bangor Friday card declared a washout
JLT favourite Killultagh Vic ruled out of Cheltenham Festival
Weekend workout planned ahead of Ascot 'option' for Flemenstar
Triumph Hurdle contender Fixe Le Kap heading for Victor Ludorum at Haydock
Kim Bailey has Supreme thoughts for Charbel
North Hill Harvey bids to secure Cheltenham ticket at Huntingdon
Gigginstown happy to play waiting game in Cheltenham Gold Cup
Peace And Co undergoes 'straightforward' respiratory procedure
Victoria Pendleton poised for hunter chase bow at Fakenham
Paul Nicholls flat out to prove Aux Ptits Soins Cheltenham fitness

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