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Nicholls Delighted With Al Ferof

Paul Nicholls has spoken of his delight at the performance of Al Ferof at Ascot on Saturday, despite the horse only managing third position.

Al Ferof
© Racehorse Photos

Al Ferof
Tthe horse has been making a successful transition from hurdle events to chase events in recent months and the positive performance at the Victor Chandler Chase on Saturday has given Nicholls plenty to look forward to.

The Champion Trainer said: “Although he jumped a bit novicey on occasions, I was delighted with his fencing in the main.”

“He wasn't foot perfect, but that is exactly why I ran him in the race. Namely, for the experience in a strongly run, high class race that he is very likely to get in the Arkle - and yesterday's race will clearly stand him in very good stead.”

Al Ferof will now look to be a major contender at the Cheltenham in March, and Nicholls has already revealed that all systems are go now in terms of preparations for the famous festival.

He continued: “Now it is all systems go for the Arkle. He won't run before then and my aim now is to get him ready and at his best for Cheltenham, and that is exactly what I will do.”

“As we have seen with him in the past, most obviously when finishing second in the Festival bumper and when winning the Supreme, he is at his best in the spring too. So I wouldn't rule out further improvement in six weeks' time.”

Elsewhere, Jessies Dream could be in contention for the Hennessy Gold Cup next month according to trainer Gordon Elliot.

Speaking about the nine-year-old’s fitness, Elliot said: “We gave him a long break after Cheltenham as he was a bit sore, but he seems in great shape again and the plan is that he'll more than likely head to Leopardstown. “

“We'll take him to Fairyhouse to work next Tuesday and if he comes through that OK, he'll run in the Hennessy.”

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