Wonderful Charm – 7-1 Betfair Sportsbook – Cheltenham 4.10 Friday 16th March
Paul Nicholls may not have the firepower of Willie Mullins, Gordon Elliott or Nicky Henderson going into the Cheltenham Festival but the Ditcheat trainer will send out plenty of fancied contenders during the four-day extravaganza, including the likes of Black Corton, Politologue and Frodon. But with a possible four runners in the St James’s Place Foxhunters Chase on the final day Nicholls expects the 3m 2f contest for amateurs to provide him with his best chance of victory, in particular that of Wonderful Charm, a neck runner up to stablemate Pacha Du Polder 12 months ago.
During an event hosted by his sponsor the Morson Group at his yard on Monday the ten-time champion trainer could not hide his enthusiasm regarding the chances of the horse due to be ridden by top amateur Sam Waley-Cohen, saying: “ Wonderful Charm has a massive chance. All the other races are mega-competitive and we have chances, but if the ground is good Wonderful Charm can go one better this year. We’ve trained him just for that race.”
Ridden by Katie Walsh in the race last year the Poliglote gelding did not enjoy the best of luck and would almost certainly have caught the winner in another hundred yards or so and is likely to be ridden more prominently on this occasion. The ten-year-old had two races in quick succession last February in a bid to qualify for the race whereas this time his preparation is more relaxed, running out an easy winner of a Hunter Chase at Musselburgh earlier in the month.
A top price 7-1 with Betfair Sportsbook behind 4-1 Cheltenham betting market leader Burning Ambition, Wonderful Charm is likely to be joined by stable companions Unioniste, Virak and last years victor Pacha Du Polder. While all four will go into the race with some kind of a chance the vibes from Ditcheat suggest that anything other than a win for Wonderful Charm will come as a disappointment.
A fantastic finish to the Foxhunters'. Great ride from Byrony Frost on Pacha Du Polder. https://t.co/O7RmK91Fhj— JumpsRacing.co.uk (@jumpsracingcouk) March 17, 2017