Racing: Nicholls tries blinkers on Gold Cup hope Cornish Rebel

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The Independent Online

Paul Nicholls may opt for a tried-and-tested formula in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Seven years ago the Ditcheat-based trainer's charge See More Business to wore blinkers for the first time in public when he won the chasing crown and tomorrow fortnight Cornish Rebel may try to follow suit.

The nine-year-old, Best Mate's young brother, will be given a test in the headgear next week before a final decision is made. "I am not altogether sure he has the temperament for them," said Nicholls at his Somerset stables yesterday. "He can be on springs and they might make him worse. Although he has tons of ability he tends to only just do enough and they might work from that point of view.

"When we put them on See More at home, they transformed him, and look what happened. So we'll try with Cornish Rebel, and if he turns up on the day with them on, you'll know they've worked the oracle."

Cornish Rebel will be joined at Cheltenham by Royal Auclair, and the pair will be part of a 20-strong Festival team for Nicholls, his largest ever. Although he has the favourite for the Queen Mother Champion Chase in Kauto Star, who will have a racecourse gallop next week, he nominated Andreas in Friday's Grand Annual Chase as his banker. Following surgery for a breathing problem the six-year-old won easily eight days ago. "He was in the Champion Chase as well but I took him out in case I was tempted," said Nicholls. "If the ground is not too soft he will go very well."

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