Ascot is starting point for Nicholls’ new recruit Laurina

Laurina is expected to make her first start for Paul Nicholls in the Coral Hurdle at Ascot on Saturday
Laurina is expected to make her first start for Paul Nicholls in the Coral Hurdle at Ascot on Saturday (PA Archive)
14:12pm, Mon 16 Nov 2020
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Laurina remains on course to make her stable debut for Paul Nicholls in the Coral Hurdle at Ascot

The former Cheltenham Festival winner, one of a number of horses switched by owner Jared Sullivan from Willie Mullins to Nicholls over the summer, features among six entries for Saturday’s Grade Two contest.

Laurina failed to sparkle last season, winning just one of her three starts over fences before being switched back to hurdles, but the 11-time champion trainer believes the extended two-mile-three-furlong test is an ideal starting point.

Nicholls said: “I’m looking forward to running Laurina. She has been a bit of a challenge, but she appears in good shape.

“We’ve got to start her off somewhere, and it’s a nice little starting point. She doesn’t get any penalties and gets a mares’ allowance. She could be quite interesting.”

The entries are completed by last year’s runner-up Call Me Lord (Nicky Henderson), Goshen (Gary Moore) , Tea Clipper (Tom Lacey), Song For Someone (Tom Symonds) and Indefatigable (Paul Webber).

Real Steel is one of four entries left in the Chanelle Pharma 1965 Chase at Ascot on Saturday (PA Images) (PA Archive)

Gold Cup sixth Real Steel, who like Laurina has joined Nicholls from Mullins, is one of two entries for the Ditcheat handler – along with Black Corton – in the Grade Two Chanelle Pharma 1965 Chase.

He said: “I think a middle-distance trip will be the ideal place to start him. A right-handed track seems to suit him, looking at his form. He is in good shape, and we are looking forward to him running.”

You would say three miles around Kempton would suit him very well

Looking beyond this weekend, Nicholls has not ruled out giving Real Steel an outing in the Ladbrokes King George VI Chase on Boxing Day, for which he is a general 16-1 shot.

Nicholls added: “He  would be a King George possible. He ran well in the Gold Cup – going to the last he looked like he might win, but he didn’t quite get up the hill.

“You would say three miles around Kempton would suit him very well.”

Completing the quartert of entries are the Kim Bailey-trained Imperial Aura and Olly Murphy’s Itchy Feet.

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