Nicholls set for double

COMANCHE WAR PAINT can prove the highlight of an across-the-card double for trainer Paul Nicholls when he lines up for the Tote Devon National at Exeter today.

The seven-year-old has been a really consistent performer this season, notching a couple of victories early in the campaign at Worcester and Wincanton.

Comanche War Paint has also run good races in defeat, particularly when a neck second to Indian Chance on St Stephen’s Day, when he was just pipped on the run-in.

He was only fourth at Taunton last time, but he was trying to defy a 3lb higher mark on softish ground that probably counted against him.

With Exeter on the faster side, the return to a sound surface should suit and he can take home the £20,000-added prize.

Nicholls can also be on the mark at Hereford with the much-improved Venn Ottery in the Grand National Day At Hereford Racecourse Handicap Chase.

The nine-year-old failed to notch a four-timer at Market Rasen on Sunday when beaten 10 lengths by Transit, who was getting lumps of weight.

That was a quick reappearance after he won impressively at Newbury last Friday.

Jockey Joe Tizzard felt the easier ground was against him as well as the slow pace, which meant Venn Ottery pulled ahead and made most of the running.

He seems to be a better horse when he settles, and Venn Ottery can get back on track here on quicker ground.

Adalpour can take the ‘Potential Sponsors’ Novices’ Hurdle at the same track.

The six-year-old had his first outing over hurdles in well over a year at Hereford last month after running on the all-weather.

He put up a fair performance in defeat and looked as though the drop back in trip to two miles, one furlong here would suit.

On Guard can show a bit more improvement to claim the opening Cashbacks At Bet Direct On Sky Active Banded Stakes at Lingfield.

Pat Murphy’s six-year-old had a midwinter break before returning to action at Lingfield last month, when he did well to finish third after his three-month absence.

He looked as if he might get on top until he was just outpaced in the finish.

On Guard seems to have found his level with regional racing and a good run is expected.

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