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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."

24 April 2014

War saunters to easy success
Quevega five-timer still on course
Wylie trio go for Gold
Cyclone blows into Punchestown
Rain set to help Punchestown
Rifles aimed at York
Dante considered for Arod
Carpenter faces stamina question
Tonto strives for Sandown scalp
Telescope sights fixed on Sandown
Prize lined up for Greffulhe raid
Celebration time for super Sire
Taghrooda swerves Sandown heat
Concorde checks in for Punchestown
No Sandown run for Oscar
Un De Sceaux to skip Punchestown
Treve among stellar Ascot entries
Charline still in Guineas mix
Big guns remain in Guineas frame
Prince in Punchestown frame
Sparrow set for Punchestown spin
Balder to take novice test
Connell eager for Tank chase run

23 April 2014

Telescope tops Richards runners
No rush for Annie target
Cosgrave appeal set for Monday
Hughes set for Sandown return
France adds flair to Guineas
Mullins drops Vautour Champion hint
Exciting Bunker given Dante date
Culloty keen on Gold run for Heeled
Hannon triple-handed in Guineas
Resurge revived for Epsom return
Sandown option for Battalion
Johnston pair clash in Derby Trial
Reckless Abandon returns to track

22 April 2014

Rizeena delights in Guineas workout
Carberry targets swift return
Williamson escapes serious injury
Rizeena thrills Brittain on gallops
Door bags National glory
Twiston-Davies hits four-timer
Joe suffers shock defeat
Scudamore hits century mark
Ivan lands Fairyhouse prize
Thousand shows star quality
Cirrus set for Treve clash
Houblon heads Gold contenders
Guineas still on Berkshire radar

21 April 2014

Door bags National glory
Wilson passes away
Ivan lands Fairyhouse prize
Stepper set for trip drop
Richards in Telescope sights
Ladies geared for Summer repeat
Hill out of Irish National
No Dundeel at Royal Ascot
Clowance up for the Cup
Garner hit with lengthy ban
Memories in Final flourish
Fitz powers home at Fairyhouse
Toner hits target for Elliott
Joe ready for Cork outing
Lennon looking to call tune
Ground holds key to Tonto show
Lucky escape for Cook
Mind called up for National service

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