Nicholls hoping ground doesn’t get too testing

PAUL Nicholls is keeping his fingers crossed conditions do not become too testing as he bids for back-to-back successes in the William Hill Galway Plate with Roby De Cimbre today.

Last year the champion trainer hit the bullseye with Oslot, who like Roby De Cimbre, won a Newton Abbot novice chase prior to his exploits in Ireland.

Nicholls admits this has been the plan for Roby De Cimbre for some time, but is hoping the ground continues to dry out to enhance his chances.

“This has been the plan since he won at Newton Abbot and it’s the same route we followed with Oslot last year,” said Nicholls.

“I’ve saved him for this race and I just ran him in that novice chase at Newton Abbot at the back end of the season because he was eligible and there was no point running him again and affecting his handicap mark.

“His final run of 2008 at Market Rasen, he was over the top having been on the go for a long time but the time before he was just beaten by Snoopy Loopy, which was a good run.

“If he can run up to that form he’d have a good chance, but I do just have slight reservations about the ground as even though he has won on the soft, I’m just hoping it doesn’t turn out to be too soft.

“Ruby (Walsh) said the ground wasn’t too bad on Monday so we are there to take our chance.

“He’s in good order and has had a great preparation so we’ll just have to see. The more it dries the better his chance.”

Tony Martin has never managed to win the competitive handicap but fires three bullets at the target this year with Royal County Star, Northern Alliance and Green Mile – with Aggie’s Lad a reserve.

“Royal County Star is in good old form and I would be hoping he’ll run another good race. He’s obviously got plenty of weight, but he should still run well,” said Martin.

“Northern Alliance is in good order and I was very happy with his run on the Flat the other day so he too should give a good account of himself.

“Green Mile got a fright at the first on his last run at Kilbeggan and he didn’t jump well after that but I’m happy with him as well at the moment.

“Aggie’s Lad is third reserve at the minute but if he gets in, great, as he’s in good nick as well.

“It’s tough to pick out one at this stage as they are all ready to go and it just depends on luck in running.

“If one of them wins it will be brilliant.”

Trainer Niall Madden is confident recent Tipperary winner Wins Now will prove up to the task, despite still being a novice over fences.

“I was delighted with him at Tipperary as things hadn’t panned out right for him, with one or two little problems,” said the County Kildare handler.

“It’s great to have him back and he’s a classy horse on his day.

Charlie Swan’s Oodachee found only Oslot too strong 12 months ago and the trainer is anticipating another bold show this time around.

“If the ground came up soft he might just handle it better than some of them, but his best form is on good ground,” he said.

Galway Plate - Cashmans bet - 7/2 Roby De Cimbre, 8 Wins Now, 10 Hill Fairy, 11 Northern Alliance, 14 Royal County Star, Green Mile, 16 Oodachee, Ballyholland, Washington Lad, Oscar India, Piano Star, 20 Line Ball, 25 Kerryhead Windfarm, French Accordion, Jaamid, Cool Running, Bothar Na, Tumbling Dice, Knock On The Head, 33 Bar

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