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Sunday 10 December 2017

Nicholls out to Rock Fly dream

Trainer sure Zarkandar or Ruby can stun Hurricane

PAUL NICHOLLS is under no illusions about the prospect of his big guns taking on Hurricane Fly in the Stan James Champion Hurdle after the Irish ace's brilliant performance on Sunday.



The Ditcheat trainer has several entries in the Cheltenham showpiece on March 13, including Zarkandar and Rock On Ruby.

But he knows they will be up against it against Willie Mullins' superstar after his scintillating win in the Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown.

“He was impressive. You can't not be impressed. he's done everything asked of him. I know Ruby (Walsh) was pleased with him,” Nicholls said.

“He's the reigning champion and he's the one to beat.”

Zarkandar, last season's Triumph Hurdle victor, has not raced since following up his Cheltenham success at Aintree in April.

However, he warmed up for a probable return to action in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury on Saturday week with a pleasing workout yesterday.

“He had a little school and I'm very happy with him,” Nicholls added.

Red Jazz and Redwood are likely to be the only representatives from the Charlie Hills stable at Meydan on Dubai World Cup night.

The five-year-old Red Jazz ran in the Godolphin Mile last year, finishing a very respectable third behind Skysurfers, and again has that race as his aim.

Redwood has won nearly £1.5million in prize money due to his globetrotting exploits and claimed the Northern Dancer Turf Stakes at Woodbine in 2010.

He has disappointed on his last two starts, in the Canadian International and in the Hong Kong Vase, but ran out of his skin on World Cup night last year when second to Rewilding in the Sheema |Classic.

“I won't be sending anything out for the Carnival but both Red Jazz and Redwood will be entered for World Cup night,” said Hills.

“We'll just have to see if they both get in, but they should.

“Red Jazz was third last year and Redwood second in the Sheema Classic, so they've got course form.”

The Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot has been renamed the Diamond Jubilee Stakes to mark the milestone in the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. The race takes place on Saturday, June 23.

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