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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."

25 January 2015

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Williams weighing up Tea options
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Chao springs Neptune surprise
Donny glory never In Doubt
Tango hot to trot at Donny
Apache claims Blaklion scalp
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24 January 2015

More injury woe for Carberry
Tiger ready to Roll
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Sire thrills Moore in Saturday spin
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Martello on the march
Snowden excited by View return
Cole chasing Cleeve glory
Green light for Uttoxeter
Easter to swerve Skybet Chase
Pauling lands Town Moor double
Anna aiming for Trophy triumph
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Sceaux primed for Arkle test
Geraghty hoping Co call pays off
Sherwood's head not in the Clouds
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23 January 2015

Greatrex plotting Aintree route
Fulton outlines Easter worry
Dunshea handed BHA role
Mullins mapping out bumper plans
Kalkir to Spring into action
Uttoxeter call morning check
Doncaster gets green light
Weather beats Fontwell
Frost claims Huntingdon card
Frost claims Huntingdon card
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Last-gasp Dedigout takes Galmoy
Zig to tackle JLT prep in Pendil
Palace and Poli star in RSA field
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Fishers Cross to swerve Cleeve

22 January 2015

Teaforthree forced out of Warwick
Aubusson jousts for Pertemps prize
Veteran Victory set Lingfield date
Cloonacool to vie for Imperial rule
Assembly out for the season
Captain at ease
Checks at Doncaster and Huntingdon
Warwick defeats the elements
Fakenham ready to roll
Wet Festival would suit Gamble team
All systems go for Cheltenham
Monksland continues comeback
Grate effort sparks Aintree dreams
Pendil plan for Rendezvous
Swan on Track for second Thyestes
Another landmark day for Chelmsford
Moore admits Sire fitness worry
Calipto stands firm in Betfair

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