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14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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All change at DitcheatHeadlines
Paul Nicholls with Zarkandar (left) and Silviniaco Conti at his press morning

Paul Nicholls admits the change in his yard has been noticeable since the loss of his established names.

Zarkandar and Silviniaco Conti are the champion trainer's best hopes of Cheltenham Festival success this season and new blood has needed to be injected into the operation.

As if to emphasise his point, Kauto Star's old box is now inhabited by the little-known Buck's Bond and his fellow retiree Denman has made way for Pacha Du Polder. Even staying hurdling legend Big Buck's, who is recovering from injury, has a new tenant in his stable called Sire Collonges.

"The whole yard is totally different to how it used to be. You've got to keep moving forward and we've got a nice team. I've had Kauto, Denman and Big Buck's, who'd be your nap hand for Cheltenham. It's different now, but we're looking forward to it," said Nicholls at his Cheltenham press morning.

"No-one's got a squad like Nicky Henderson or Willie Mullins, they've got an awesome team. In the betting, I'm 10-1 to be top trainer at Cheltenham and it's so competitive, so hard, as they all take a lot of winning. I would think I'll have 25 or 26 runners, and you've got to make them all count."

Aside from Zarkandar and Silviniaco Conti, leading contenders for the Champion Hurdle and Gold Cup respectively, Nicholls outlined many of his other likely starters. Leading the field is Far West, who is at the top of the betting for the JCB Triumph Hurdle after four consecutive victories.

"I was very impressed with how he won at Ascot last Saturday. He's got speed, he's got everything. He jumps great and has worked with Zarkandar. I'd compare him favourably with Zarkandar, and he's top of the pile of our juveniles," said Nicholls.

Fago, who made an impressive British debut at Newbury but subsequently fell at Warwick, will run at Sandown on Friday ahead of engagements in the Arkle and Jewson. Nicholls says he is "leaning towards the two-mile route".

He compared Dodging Bullets favourably with his previous Supreme winners Al Ferof and Noland, while Ptit Zig is one of a few in the running for the Fred Winter. Celestial Halo will represent Big Buck's owner Andy Stewart in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle and Ulck Du Lin has been saved for the Grand Annual.

Nicholls also gave a good word for Sam Winner in the Pertemps Final, saying: "I think the trip will bring out the best in him and I think he definitely has a chance."

19 February 2017

Colin Tizzard set for nervous Cheltenham build-up
Blow for Paul Nicholls with Cliffs Of Dover out for rest of the season
Setback rules Identity Thief out of Navan outing
Harry Fry rules out National Hunt Chase for RSA-bound American
Josses Hill heading straight to the Festival
Nicky Henderson still undecided over Whisper's Cheltenham target
'Job done' as Yanworth battles to Kingwell Hurdle victory
Lion roars to National favouritism with Haydock success
'Everything you want to see and more' - Cue Card thrills in Ascot Chase romp
Worlds End enters Cheltenham equation after Haydock triumph
Tombstone floors Jezki in Red Mills Trial Hurdle at Gowran Park
Zarkandar back in front as Nicholls dominates Rendlesham
Bigbadjohn battles for Reynoldstown triumph
Beyond Conceit secures Cheltenham spot with Ascot success

18 February 2017

Cue Card back to his brilliant best in Ascot Chase
Vieux Lion Rouge boosts Grand National claims at Haydock
Yanworth battles to hard-fought victory in Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton
Ballycasey takes Red Mills Chase honours at Gowran Park
Don Bersy bags biggest success yet at Haydock but Cheltenham off the agenda
Gary Moore hopeful of Ar Mad return before the end of the season
Sutton Place bids for Boyne honours at Navan
Identity Thief bids for Flyingbolt redemption following disappointing spell
Loughran hoping Acapella Bourgeois can hit Ten Up target
William Cox suffers broken jaw and Eoin Walsh breaks arm in Wolverhampton spill
Hamelin atones for stalls mishap with victory at Newcastle
Fairytale success for Captain Guy Disney in Royal Artillery Gold Cup at Sandown
Colin's Sister on track for Cheltenham after sizzling Sandown display
Bigbadjohn on Reynoldstown recovery mission at Ascot
Aux Ptits Soins in hurdling switch for Rendlesham test
Former two-mile king Jezki on trial for Cheltenham target
Cue Card primed for Ascot Chase bid
David Pipe hoping Lion can roar in Grand National Trial
Yanworth aiming to reign in Kingwell outing at Wincanton

17 February 2017

Two riders taken to hospital following Wolverhampton spill
Guy Disney in fairytale Royal Artillery Gold Cup success at Sandown
Progressive Sutton Place takes next step at Navan
Sir Tony McCoy statue to be unveiled on opening day of Cheltenham Festival
Tylicki planning riding lesson next week as he continues rehabilitation process
Emma Lavelle eyeing Doncaster prep for Grand National-bound Junction Fourteen
Jockey Club dismisses any suggestion of changes to Kempton proposals
Dubai World Cup night engagement beckons for Opal Tiara
Big-race options open as Saphir Du Rheu returns to winning ways at Kelso
Apple's Jade on course for Quevega Hurdle at Punchestown
Sandown and France on the radar for Ptit Zig
National favourite Don Poli 'doubtful' for Aintree following weights dispute
Dan Skelton happy to take Champion challenge with 'improving' Superb Story
Colin's Sister primed for long-range target at Sandown
Blaklion out to roar for Nigel Twiston-Davies in National Trial
Cue Card faces five in Ascot Chase

16 February 2017

Cheltenham bonus back in play for Imperial Cup winner
Newcastle and Bath to join Good Friday action
Ben Pauling gives Le Breuil Kelso aim
Charbel target undecided as Kim Bailey puts thinking cap on
Cheltenham first before return to Aintree for As De Mee
Europe likely to beckon again for Lady Aurelia
Grand National favourite Don Poli a "doubtful" runner
Two Swallows swoops for Towcester triumph
Andy Stewart sets sights on Stayers' date with Old Guard
Mount Mews to bypass Ascot option in favour of Kelso's Premier prize
Maggio set to complete Aintree prep with Kelso spin
Foxrock National target likely to be determined by ground conditions
Willie Mullins dismisses Yorkhill Champion Hurdle speculation
Patrick Mullins expects Bacardys to make Festival mark
No surprises following latest Festival withdrawals
Very Special chases Balanchine success at Meydan

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