Nicholls singing the blues

Paul Nicholls plundered his second big prize at Doncaster in as many weeks when I’msingingtheblues landed the Handicap Chase.

Paul Nicholls plundered his second big prize at Doncaster in as many weeks when I’msingingtheblues landed the Handicap Chase.

Just seven days after his Big Fella Thanks, a novice, won the Sky Bet Chase, I’msingingtheblues (9-2) followed the same route under a confident ride from Christian Williams.

Nicholls has never been afraid to pitch his better novices into handicap company and on days like this, with £100,000 on offer, it is a policy surely more trainers will follow.

To be fair, he was not the only novice in the race with Caroline Bailey’s Doctor David and David Pipe’s I’m So Lucky taking their chance, and the three youngsters had it between them in the straight.

Pipe’s charge dropped away but Andrew Thornton launched Doctor David at the final fence and appeared to have timed it to perfection.

However, John Hales’ seven-year-old found more for pressure to run out an impressive two-and-three-quarter-length winner.

William Hill were impressed enough to cut the winner to 12-1 from 16s for the Arkle with stablemate Tatenen heading the market at 11-2.

Williams said: “He’s learning as he goes along. The ground was very tacky which did not suit him.

“Three out I was a bit worried but he got in a relentless rhythm and when they passed the line I couldn’t pull him up.

“I nearly got him beat last time against Calgary Bay because I wasn’t positive enough on him so I didn’t want to make the same mistake today.

“I’m not sure whether Cheltenham will suit him because I think he might be better on a flat track, but you don’t know unless you go.

“He certainly deserves his place in the race anyway.”

Owner Hales added: “It’s straight to the Arkle now. He couldn’t have done that any better and he keeps on improving.”

Nicholls was also on the mark with Chapoturgeon (7-4) in the opening – Bet Live & In Running Novices’ Chase, as well as taking the two big races at Sandown with Celestial Halo and Herecomesthetruth.

“I don’t know what he beat but he couldn’t have done it any easier. He jumped great and I was very happy with him. I hope there is more to come,” said Chapoturgeon’s rider Timmy Murphy.

Master Of Arts might just be the next Inglis Drever after an imperious hurdling debut in the Play Poker Online Novices’ Hurdle.

A winner of his last six races on the level for Sir Mark Prescott, who started the career of the triple World Hurdle winner, he is now in the care of David Pipe.

He may have drifted from 3-1 out to 11-2 in the betting but those who backed him were never in any doubt they would be collecting as he sprinted clear of odds-on favourite Copper Bleu.

He was given a 20-1 quote for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and 14-1 for the Triumph by William Hill.

“That was a very good performance,” said Pipe.

“I know he was getting a lot of weight off the favourite but the ground is very tacky and he wouldn’t want that at all.

“He’s in the Supreme and the Triumph and the way things are with the weather he may have to go straight to the Festival.”

There was a popular winner of the – Play Bingo Handicap Chase as Keith Reveley’s Jass (6-1) followed up a recent victory at Ayr.

Yorkshire racegoers like cheering home one of their own and the seven-year-old was given a peach of a ride by the trainer’s son, James.

“Today was a trial really to see if he stays four miles and now we know he does he will be off for the Eider (a Newcastle) now,” said the trainer.

“He was a very good bumper horse but lost his way, James has been the making of him really.”

Tony Carroll’s Arctic Wings (9-1) won the – Live Casino Games Handicap Hurdle while Alan King’s Thetwincamdrift (2-1) took the lucky last.

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