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Paul Nicholls has not been shy about sharing his views on his runners this week, and the British trainer is particularly keen on his runner in the Ballymore – Hermes Allen.
The five-year-old bolted up in the Challow Hurdle on the bridle at Newbury in December and that form is working out well and improvement is very much on the cards. On form, he is potentially the one to beat – though Challow winners have never won this race and Nicholls has not had a winner at Cheltenham since 2019.
Speaking about his chances, he told Betfair: “He showed next to nothing at home when he joined us and surprised me when he bolted up on his debut at Stratford. He has quickly developed into a top-class novice, landing the Grade 1 Challow Hurdle at Newbury last time in tremendous style on attritional ground. The form of that race has been well-franked since then.
“Hermes Allen is unbeaten over hurdles, looks fab, worked stylishly on Saturday morning, can handle any ground and the trip is not an issue as he will stay three miles in due course. I’d say he is one of my best chances of the week.”