Nicholls’ improving novice chaser is already as short as 12-1 for the Galway Plate after his impressive Summer Plate win at Market Rasen at the weekend
PAUL NICHOLLS has warned Alcala’s participation in next week’s TheTote.com Galway Plate is far from certain.
The seven-year-old set up a potential outing in the two-mile-six-furlong contest when landing the Summer Plate at Market Rasen.
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Although the race was mentioned after his victory, the Ditcheat handler, who won the race in 2008 with Oslot, seems likely to pursue other options.
Nicholls said: “Alcala is going the right way and I am very pleased with how he has progressed. He is in the Galway Plate, but I’ve not made my mind up yet.
“It does come soon enough from the other day and if I was serious about Galway I would have not gone to Market Rasen on Saturday. I will just keep his options open. Nothing is set in stone.
“Off 11st 3lb it would be quite tough for a novice chaser. When Oslot won it he was off 143.
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“It is just whether we hang fire and are better off trying to win a few nice novice chases, as he is a novice for the season.
“Bagad Bihoue, who has already won four novice chases, and Alcala are two good novice chasers and I don’t see why they can’t do exactly the same as San Benedeto and Frodon last season.”
A trip to Ireland for the Guinness Galway Hurdle looks to be on the cards for Grade 2 winner Zubayr, who has had two runs on the all-weather since finishing fifth in the Swinton Hurdle at Haydock in May.
Nicholls said: “Zubayr is in the Galway Hurdle and he is probably going to go there. He has run well on the Flat twice. He loves decent ground and it is a big prize.
“I’ve already won a Galway Plate and it would be nice to win a Galway Hurdle.”