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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."

18 January 2017

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Annie Power and Faugheen star in 28 for Champion Hurdle
Newbury receives go-ahead at third attempt
Newbury 'very hopeful' as third inspection announced
Kerry Lee ducks Thurles mission with Ascot-bound Kylemore Lough
Newbury announces second course inspection
Roger Charlton keeps the faith with Frankel filly Fair Eva
Newbury calls inspection after overnight temperatures drop below freezing
Second Thought continues on the up at Kempton
Classy Starchitect up and running over fences at Ayr
Politologue stars in novice entry at Haydock
Contrasting views on Kempton closure from prominent Newmarket figures
Cyrus Darius primed for eagerly-awaited weekend return at Haydock
Heartbreak City on course for big handicap date at Leopardstown
Decorated Knight delights Roger Charlton in Kempton spin
Sire De Grugy skips Clarence House outing at Ascot
Yanworth to tackle Contenders heat with Cheltenham in his sights

17 January 2017

Sir Anthony McCoy weighing in heavier since retirement due to chocolate cravings
Australian jockey Josh Cartwright set to learn fate after riding drama
Richard Fahey anticipating northern support for returning Paul Hanagan
Michael Buckley enthused by Brain Power's Ascot performance
Charlemar set to step up in trip following Tolworth disappointment
Petit Mouchoir to face Champion test at Leopardstown
Un De Sceaux team pinpoint Ascot nous as key strength in Clarence House Chase
Bastien blazes a trail to pocket Plumpton prize for Alan King
Fit-again Noel Fehily back in action at Exeter
Godolphin dominate fast-track qualifier as Antiquarium roars at Wolverhampton
Harry Fry guarded against Cleeve complacency for Unowhatimeanharry
Colin Tizzard set to unleash Cheltenham Gold Cup hope Alary at Haydock
Harry Fry plans to chart direct Cheltenham Festival route with American
Gordon Elliott looking to Irish Gold Cup with Empire Of Dirt
Willie Mullins hoping Faugheen will make Irish Champion return

16 January 2017

Jan Faltejsek ends British drought as Fairlee Grey strikes at Ayr
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Vezelay on course for Cheltenham Trial
Dunphy and Logan banned for two years following Like A Diamond case
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Gary Moore lining up Banks raid with Benatar
Amateur rider Dougie Gittins hit with 10-day ban at Kelso
Ballyoisin makes amends for recent fall
Champion trainer Paul Nicholls has his say on Kempton closure plans
Jack Kennedy shines as Ball D'Arc keeps up title momentum for Gordon Elliott
Barra banks maiden win at Fairyhouse
Grand National contender One For Arthur excites Peter Scudamore
Jonjo O'Neill on Leopardstown Gold trail with Minella Rocco
Neil Mulholland considers Cleeve Hurdle for Grand National hope The Young Master
Seamus Mullins could go Flat out with Fergall

15 January 2017

My Manekineko set to take Leopardstown plunge
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One For Arthur powers to Classic Chase glory at Warwick
Willoughby Court impresses for Grade Two honours at Warwick
Tobefair continues winning spree at Warwick
Modus makes no mistake in Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton
American stars in Hampton Novices' Chase at Warwick
Any Second Now floors hotpot Crack Mome at Punchestown
Frost and snow puts paid to Fakenham Sunday card
Fine Rightly looking to show his class at Kelso
Murphy sets sights on Moore glory with Pairofbrowneyes

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