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Horse Racing: All Nicholls' hopes rest on Knappers Hill

Paul Nicholls goes in search of a second win in three years in Saturday's Betfair Hurdle at Newbury with a sole representative in the shape of his five-time winner Knappers Hill.

The three-time bumper winner, including at Listed and Grade 2 level, won his first two starts over hurdles before tasting defeat for the first time behind Jonbon and Colonel Mustard in the Grade 2 Kennel Gate Hurdle at Ascot in December.

The latter advertised that form when running a decent third behind Sir Gerhard in a Grade 1 Hurdle at Leopardstown as recently as Sunday.

Knappers Hill is 11/2 with bet365 for this weekend's two mile contest whilst Jpr One is 9/2.

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Nicholls opens up on Kanppers Hill experience

Nicholls, who has won the contest twice in the past decade with Zarkandar (2012) and Pic D'Orhy (2020), said: "Knappers Hill is in good shape. This has been his target for a while and it's quite common for us to aim some well-handicapped novices at the race - it felt like the right route to take after Ascot."

He added: "I think he's a really strong stayer and a fast-run race will suit him. His inexperience might count against him a fraction but he showed improvement last time and we've worked hard on his jumping. You need a well-handicapped horse and he seems to be on a nice mark."

On where Knappers Hill might go after his Newbury assignment, the trainer added: "I'm not sure Cheltenham would necessarily suit him with his lack of jumping experience so if he runs well he could go to Aintree."

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