We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. We also use cookies to ensure we show you advertising that is relevant to you. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the Punchestown website. However, if you would like to, you can change your cookie settings at any time by amending your browser settings.   Read More...

Cookies enable us to identify your device, or you when you have logged in. We use cookies that are strictly necessary to enable you to move around the site or to provide certain basic features. We use cookies to enhance the functionality of the website by storing your preferences, for example. We also use cookies to help us to improve the performance of our website to provide you with a better user experience. We don't sell the information collected by cookies, nor do we disclose the information to third parties, except where required by law (for example to government bodies and law enforcement agencies.   Show Less...

Punchestown News

Punchestown News: Nicholls: Saphir Du Rheu a big player in World Hurdle

Posted: 24th Feb 2016

SAPHIR DU RHEU and Sam Twiston-Davies

Saphir Du Rheu: will improve for better ground according to Nicholls

  PICTURE: Getty Images  

Nicholls: Saphir a big player in World Hurdle

CHAMPION trainer Paul Nicholls believes Ryanair World Hurdle hopeful Saphir Du Rheu will be seen "in a completely different light" on the likely better ground at next month's Cheltenham Festival.

Saphir Du Rheu finished runner-up to Cole Harden in last season's World Hurdle but has been largely disappointing this season, failing to justify favouritism over fences in the Hennessy Gold Cup before finishing over 30 lengths behind Thistlecrack in the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot in December.

The ground at Newbury was officially described as soft, while it was good-to-soft at Ascot, and Nicholls feels that was not in the favour of a horse who proved so effective on good ground in the spring last year.

Speaking at his media morning, Nicholls said: "Saphir Du Rheu will be seen in a completely different light on better ground and is a big player. We haven't seen the best of him."

Racecourse gallop

Nicholls will put the finishing touches to Saphir Du Rheu's festival preparation by sending the horse on a racecourse gallop next week.

Saphir Du Rheu is a 16-1 shot for the World Hurdle and is likely to be joined by stablemate Aux Ptits Soins who can be backed at the same price. The market is headed by Colin Tizzard's dual Grade 1-winner Thistlecrack at 11-10.

Return to news listings.