Paul Nicholls has put Some Plan together in County Handicap Hurdle
David Metcalf | March 17, 2016
Some Plan the Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle choice
Some Plan looks decent each-way value in a typically wide-open and competitive renewal of the Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival (14:10).
The gelding is a lightly-raced and unexposed sort who has caught the eye in two runs this season since joining trainer Paul Nicholls.
In the first of those, the eight-year-old travelled strongly before weakening late on to finish fifth of 10 to Lil Rockerfeller at Sandown.
Lil Rockferfeller is a real tough and consistent sort who has since gone on to land a Grade 2 contest at Fontwell and is now rated 154 and, in the circumstances, it was a fine effort by Some Plan on his first start for 270 days.
Plenty to like about Ascot effort
Some Plan has since gone on to finish a fine fourth of 21 to Jolly’s Cracked It in a valuable and ultra-competitive handicap at Ascot.
After being held-up in midfield, the eight-year-old made stealthy headway on the inside three from home and loomed up looking the likely winner at the second last.
However, Some Plan lost all momentum when making a costly blunder and it was to his credit that he stuck to the task well to be beaten just 2 3/4 lengths.
Nicholls has good record in race
It was an effort which suggested a mark of 145 should not be beyond Some Plan and he has clearly been laid out for this.
Another plus is that Nicholls has a good record in the race.
The Ditcheat handler has won it four times, courtesy of Sporazene (2004), Desert Quest (2006), American Trilogy (2009) and Lac Fontana (2014) and Some Plan looks to hold leading claims of adding to that tally.
Great Field the pick of the Irish
Irish trained horses have won seven of the last 10 renewals, and County Carlow handler Willie Mullins has been responsible for three of them. He has several interesting contenders, including the unexposed Great Field.
The gelding was multiple winner in France and made impressive winning debut for Mullins at Leopardstown after being purchased by leading owner JP McManus.
After taking up the running at the fourth, the five-year-old only had to be shaken up on the run-in to stretch clear and score easily by 4 1/2 lengths.
It was a most taking performance which suggested Great Field needing keeping firmly onside and had the potential to be better than a handicapper.
Coral’s top tip: Some Plan has plenty going for him and looks decent each-way value in a fiercely competitive contest. Great Field could be anything and looks sure to go well.