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“HE’S PROBABLY ONE OF OUR BEST CHANCES OF THE WEEK”: Paul Nicholls hoping for 2022 Festival success with Stage Star

British Champion Trainer Paul Nicholls is hoping for a big run from Stage Star on day two of the Cheltenham Festival

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Horse trainer Paul Nicholls at Hereford Racecourse Supreme Cheltenham

Ditcheat chief Paul Nicholls is hoping that Stage Star can become the first British winner of the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle since 2017 as he confirmed the Challow victor would head for the larger obstacles next season.

The son of Fame And Glory recorded facile successes at Chepstow and Newbury before securing Grade 1 honours at the latter-mentioned course at the end of 2021, with all eyes now set on a debut at Prestbury Park in less than two weeks’ time.

WATCH: STAGE STAR GIVES PAUL NICHOLLS A SECOND WIN IN A ROW IN THE CHALLOW NOVICES’ HURDLE [CREDIT: RACING TV]

There is uncertainty as to the direction of Willie Mullins’ duo Sir Gerhard and Dysart Dynamo, with both expected to be split between the Tuesday and Wednesday openers, respectively, with Ginto and Journey With Me also bidding to maintain their unbeaten records over timber.

Horse Racing - Cheltenham Festival - Cheltenham Racecourse, Cheltenham, Britain - March 17, 2021 Rachael Blackmore wins the 4.50 Weatherbys Champion Bumper on Sir Gerhard Pool via REUTERS/Alan Crowhurst
Champion Bumper winner Sir Gerhard could take on Stage Star in the Ballymore

But Nicholls believes the best could yet still be to come from his representative.

He told At The Races: “He was a good bumper horse last year and was always going to be a better horse this year. He’s won all three of his novice hurdles and you just wouldn’t know how good he might be.

“He was ready to go to Exeter a fortnight ago, but the ground was so heavy that day and I didn’t want to give him a hard race, so we’ve just kept him nice and fresh.

Harry Skelton and Politolouge en route to winning the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival
Could Stage Star give Paul Nicholls his first Festival success since Politolouge in 2020?

“He had a piece of work at Wincanton 10 days ago and went very nicely with Monmiral.

“He’s probably one of our best chances of the week, I would say, and whatever happens he’ll be a lovely horse to go chasing next season.”

Dominic Chapman is senior content writer at Low6 with a passion for horse racing. He provides a NAP and NB every day throughout the week on selected National Hunt and Flat cards in both Britain and Ireland. Additionally, he hosts the Paddock Picks Podcast with former Welsh Grand National-winning pilot, Charlie Poste - the pair interviewing and discussing current racing topics with a special guest every week.