Paul Nicholls looks forward to Cheltenham with a team that “looks great”

08:00 11 March 2013

Silviniaco Conti ridden by Ruby Walsh jumps the last fence to win The Betfair Denman Steeple Chase during the Betfair Super Saturday at Newbury Racecourse, Newbury. Picture: Nigel French/PA Wire

Silviniaco Conti ridden by Ruby Walsh jumps the last fence to win The Betfair Denman Steeple Chase during the Betfair Super Saturday at Newbury Racecourse, Newbury. Picture: Nigel French/PA Wire

PA Wire/Press Association Images

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Paul Nicholls has revealed that he is looking forward to the Cheltenham festival where he fields a strong team, albeit without the usual big names associated with the champion trainer.

For the first time in many years Nicholls will travel to the festival without the four-time World Hurdle winner Big Buck’s amongst his team, after an injury to the 10-year-old in December that ruled him out for the season.

“The horses look great and they have been running really well,” said Nicholls who bagged his 31st and 32nd Cheltenham festival winners last year with Rock On Ruby in the Champion Hurdle and Big Buck’s in the World Hurdle.

“We have had a fantastic time and it is good to be in form. You want to be having winners and we have had a lot in the last three weeks and they look good and are going well and so I am very, very happy.

“I am really looking forward to Cheltenham. There is no pressure, like there was with Kauto Star, when the expectation is so big. It is a little bit different now. We are going in to the races not thinking we are going to win any of them, but with chances and I can’t wait.

“My best chance is probably Sam Winner, but I think Zarkandar and Silviniaco Conti have both got big chances in the two big races that really, really count [the Champion Hurdle and the Gold Cup].

“We are looking forward to it. They are both in good order and have had a good prep and as far as Zarkandar is concerned the more it rains, the better.”

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