Paul Nicholls was the dominant trainer at Musselburgh’s Cheltenham Festival meeting.
The champion trainer sent up a strong squad for the two-day fixture and was rewarded with five winners including a 35-1 treble yesterday led by the victory of Frodon in the totepool Scottish Future Champions Novices’ Chase.
Frodon is only five but this was his 15th career start and his fourth win of the season for Nicholls, which had included a Grade Two at Wincanton and the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham. Despite having been noticeably edgy at the start he settled in front for Sam Twiston-Davies to win by nine lengths.
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Frodon holds an entry for the JLT Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham, although Twiston-Davies thought a flatter track might suit better, and Charlie Longsdon was not certain whether Monbeg Charmer would take up either of his entries next month after winning the Albert Bartlett Scottish Trial Novices' Hurdle.
Brian Hughes, who had already ridden 15 winners at Musselburgh this season, had Monbeg Charmer in the lead right from the off and his horse kept finding when asked for more in much the same way as Longsdon’s Tree of Liberty had in the opening novice hurdle.
Longsdon, after the debrief from Hughes, said of Monbeg Charmer: “He's said that we ought not to over-do things with this horse this season as it's all about the future with him, so I have to respect that.
"I'm not saying we won't go to Cheltenham with him, but we will need to talk about what's the best thing to do."
Forth Bridge, owned by The Queen, could be running at Cheltenham after winning the bet365 Scottish Triumph Hurdle Trial on Saturday despite sustaining an injury in the race. “He pulled a shoe off and got a nasty little overreach and I’ve given him some antibiotics and Bute because he was a little bit sore But he’ll be fine,” Longsdon said, adding that a decision between the Triumph or Fred Winter Hurdles will not be taken until the horse has been reassessed by the handicappers.
Elsewhere, Douvan won his 13th race from 13 starts for Willie Mullins with an easy victory in the Tied Cottage Chase at Punchestown and Alary, who flopped badly at Haydock last month on his first run for Colin Tizzard, is likely to have his second start in Britain in a graduation chase at Exeter next Sunday.