Mon Parrain the Power play for Nicholls

 

Cheltenham racecourse, it was announced yesterday, is to be one of the stop-off points for the Olympic torch next May, early in its 70-day, 8,000-mile journey round Britain from Land's End to London. Before that, of course, there will be plenty to light up the Gloucestershire track that has become synonymous with jump racing's best. And with the Flat season's international finale, the Breeders' Cup, now in the form book the focus here is firmly on those who may, even at this early stage, be identified as medal hopes for next year's Festival.

In the past 10 years more than 30 who scored at the early November fixture at Prestbury Park went on to win or make the podium the following March. Most notable among them has been Imperial Commander, who took the Ryanair Chase four months after winning the Paddy Power Gold Cup and progressed to a Gold Cup victory the following year. And of course, Long Run, only third in the two-and-a-half-miler last year, has since taken both the King George VI Chase and Gold Cup.

The Paddy Power Gold Cup is one of the few trophies not in Paul Nicholls' cabinet and, for him, it is surely a contest tinged not only with frustration but sadness. His four runners-up include Poliantas, who collapsed and died after crossing the line and Nicholls' Granit Jack broke his neck when falling two out, looking all over the winner, four years ago.

In Saturday's edition he fields the strong favourite Mon Parrain, for whom hopes this term are much higher than a Grade Three handicap, with Poquelin, runner-up two years ago, as wingman at the top of the handicap. The ex-French Mon Parrain was last seen in action in April, when second at Aintree after winning easily on his British debut, and in public last week, when he joined Kauto Star and Big Buck's for some awayday exercise at Exeter.

"He benefited enormously from that day out," reported Nicholls. "I'd been struggling to get him as fit as I would have liked at home. I rate him highly but he may have to have improved to win off his current mark. Generally, mine have not been well handicapped for this race and it's a hard one to win."

There is not much that Tony McCoy has not achieved, but yesterday's 2.15 at Southwell did provide him with one new experience when he partnered Larks Lad to the first walkover of his 20-year career. The Nicky Henderson-trained gelding was left to complete the formality of a 100-yard trot past the post to collect £2,800 in prize-money after his sole rival was withdrawn.

Turf account

Chris McGrath's Nap

Cloudy Too (2.00 Sedgefield)

Well-regarded and has innate talent to win if he can put in a clear round.

 

Next best

Renard (3.10 Lingfield)

A high-mettled, free-going type who seemed to appreciate the drop back to two miles when winning last time.

 

One to watch

The chasing debut of The Engineer (Jessie Harrington) should be keenly anticipated if his warm-up bumper second to a horse who bolted up again on Friday is a guide.

 

Where the money's going

Pateese, at 8-1, is favourite in Paddy Power's list for Sunday's Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham.

News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Sport
Louis van Gaal watches over Nani
transfers
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
transfersColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Life and Style
News to me: family events were recorded in the personal columns
techFamily events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped that
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Business Development Manager (District Heating)

£55000 Per Annum plus company car and bonus scheme: The Green Recruitment Comp...

Lead Hand - QC

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Lead Hand - QCProgressive are recruiting...

Chemical Engineer/Project Coordinator

£40000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Chemical Eng...

Sustainability Manager

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Scheme Manager (BREEAM)...

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn