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Friday 15 December 2017

Follow the trail to get some gold

Trainer Paul Nicholls
Trainer Paul Nicholls

Charlie Appleby already has 20 winners to his credit this year and Gold Trail can further enhance those statistics with victory in the Coral Handicap at Wolverhampton.

The Godolphin handler has been much more active on the winter all-weather scene this year and his endeavours have paid off with the likes of Tryster and Gold Trail already having a couple of victories in the bag.

Gold Trail, a half-brother to a Group One winner, has really started to come of age this year after something of a disappointing three-year-old campaign which failed to yield a win in five starts and encompassed a lengthy break.

He returned after five months off with a lacklustre run at Dunstall Park on St Stephen’s Day, although colliding with a rail would hardly have helped his chance that day.

The run evidently brought about plenty of progress as he pitched up at Lingfield in early January and and dug deep to hold off Ansaab by a neck over 10 furlongs before stepping up a further two furlongs to strike gold again three weeks later.

Gold Trail was not particularly impressive on either occasion but his style of winning suggests there is something still in the locker and he can keep dealing with his handicap rises.

Trimoulet can bring up his hat-trick in the coral.co.uk Handicap.

A switch to middle distances has proved the making of this Teofilo gelding, winning a modest handicap at Chelmsford late last month on his first try at 10 furlongs.

Daniel Kubler then switched up again to a mile and a half and even though he was saddled with a 5lb penalty, he pulled four lengths clear with the minimum of fuss. Trimoulet is clearly making great strides now and a 6lb penalty should not be enough to stop him.

In contrast to Appleby, Richard Hannon has made a fairly slow start to the campaign but Culloden is the right type for the Daily Price Boosts At Unibet Maiden Stakes.

The Kyllachy colt was handed a tough task on his racecourse bow as Hannon opted to send him for a conditions event and, unsurprisingly, he proved no match for his three rivals and finished last, beaten over 19 lengths

A drop back in class should see Culloden get a first win on the board.

Paul Nicholls loves to send out the winner in the Royal Artillery Gold Cup at Sandown and he has another likely type in Cowards Close this year.

Cowards Close appears open to plenty of improvement after winning one of his four chase starts to date. A point-to-point scorer, the eight-year-old proved useful in scoring twice over hurdles before striking gold over the bigger obstacles at the second time of asking last spring.

Subsequently beaten a short head at Wincanton before embarking on his summer break, Cowards Close ran a perfectly respectable race on his return in a Grade Three at Cheltenham in December, running from 2lb out of the handicap against the likes of Hadrian’s Approach.

While he was well beaten by Benbane Head on the day, Cowards Close still turned in a good effort and although he has a bit to find with a couple here, he remains pretty unexposed.

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