Paul Nicholls: out to fire Festival shots with Tattersalls purchases

Paul Nicholls: at Tattersalls Cheltenham picking out his next winner
Paul Nicholls: at Tattersalls Cheltenham picking out his next winner

The 14-time champion National Hunt trainer Paul Nicholls heads to the Festival with several strong contenders headed up by Tattersalls purchases – and the multiple Grade 1 winner Bravemansgame, runner-up in last year's Grade 1 Boodles Gold Cup, and last year's Grade 1 Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle winner Stay Away Fay, are leading the charge.

Bravemansgame: the nine-year-old son of Brave Mansonnien has won or placed in ten Grade 1 chases

Bravemansgame: aiming to go place better in the Grade 1 Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup

The Tattersalls Cheltenham-purchase Bravemansgame will be heading to the Gold Cup once again. The mutliple Grade 1-winning chaser has not won yet this season, but the multiple Grade 1 winner has lost very little in defeat in his trio of starts this campaign finishing second on all three starts, the last twice at the highest level

Nicholls reported: “It hasn’t gone entirely to plan so far this season though he has run three solid races. He was second in the Charlie Hall, second in the Betfair Chase and second in the King George at Kempton.

“I think I can do better than we’ve had him so far this season, the fact that Wetherby went heavy then we went to Haydock and had a hard race which we missed last year. He probably didn’t go to Kempton in the best of form, but he still ran very well.”

On his chances coming into this year’s Festival, Nicholls adds: “He’s nice and fresh now and showing us all the right signals, we’re really pleased with him.

“Obviously Galopin De Champs is going to take a lot of beating, but Bravemansgame was second last year, and we’ve got chances behind him. I’m very pleased with his preparation, he’s looking good and I’m hopeful of another good run.

Owned by Bryan Drew, Bravemansgame was purchased at the Tattersalls Cheltenham Festival Sale for £370,000 by Paul Nicholls and Tom Malone from Donnchadh Doyle’s Monbeg Stables.

Stay Away Fay: the seven-year-old by Shantou is currently a 5/2 chance for the Brown Advisory

Stay Away Fay seeking a second Festival Grade 1 success

Stay Away Fay, a £305,000 purchase by Malone and Nicholls at the Tattersalls Cheltenham December Sale from Matty Flynn O’Connor’s Ballycrystal Stables, was triumphant at last year’s Cheltenham Festival winning the Grade 1 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle. He has returned this season proving just as effective over chase fences and has won twice, victories including the Grade 2 Betfair Esher Novices' Chase at Sandown. He was last seen when third in the Paddy Power Grade 2 Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham and is being targeted at the Grade 1 Brown Advisory Novices Chase.

“This year Stay Away Fay has been chasing. He has won his two novice chases – one at Exeter and one at Sandown and ran very well in the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham on Trials Day, which is a bit of a prep for the Brown Advisory.

“He looks in great shape and we’re very happy with him. I think we’ve got improvement from Cheltenham back in January until The Festival. He’s in really good shape at the moment so must have a leading chance.”

Teeshan and Quebecois: both on target for the Grade 1 Weatherbys Champion Bumper

Nicholls is well represented in the Grade 1 Weatherbys Champion Bumper with two quality Tattersalls purchases – Teeshan, who is described as “a really lovely young horse” by the champion trainer, was a Tattersalls Ireland National Hunt Foal Sale purchase for €16,000 by Matt O’Connor Bloodstock from Seamus Moore of Donoughmore Stud.

He was an eye-catching winner of his point to point at Loughanmore by over 40l before his 7l bumper win at Exeter on stable debut for the team at Dicheat.

Nicholls told Tattersalls: “He came over with quite a reputation and he won very well at Exeter 10 days ago, so he’s heading off for the Cheltenham Festival Bumper.

“I think he is one of the main British chances in the race and he has done nothing wrong at all, two from two. Whatever he does at Cheltenham, he is a beautiful prospect for novice hurdling next year."

Quebecois, purchased at last year’s Tattersalls Cheltenham Festival Sale for £320,000 by the McNeill Family from Sean Doyle’s Monbeg Stables, looked a classy sort when winning in decisive fashion in December and appears to be another young horse with a bright future.

Nicholls said: “He is a lovely young horse by No Risk At All. Having finished second in his point to point in Ireland last year, we ran him in one bumper at Exeter before Christmas and he absolutely hosed in, so he’s off for the Cheltenham bumper. He is a little like Captain Teague last year, with a bit more experience, he’ll make a super novice hurdler next year. He does everything nicely and one we really like. He didn’t come off the bridle when he won at Exeter – a really nice prospect.”

Quebecois: a £320,000 purchase by the McNeill family at the 2023 Tattersalls Cheltenham Festival Sale from Monbeg Stables (S Doyle)