Nicholls enjoys solid day as new jumps season opens at Sandown

Champion trainer Paul Nicholls continued his long run of form at Sandown Park’s Gentleman’s Day as Sound Investment claimed the feature race.

Going in to The Share Centre: Simply Easier Handicap Steeple Chase as third favourite, handicapped to the hilt-and carrying top weight, Nicholls’ charge ran a very tidy race indeed.

He was tucked in to the leading pack from the start and saw off leaders approaching the 13th fence, he then led as he cleared the last obstacle and tore up the home straight for jockey Nick Scholfield.

The Nicholls-Scholfield combination had already struck gold earlier in the day as their promising novice chaser Irish Saint ran a classy finish after battling it out against his former hurdling opponent Chris Pea Green, trained by Gary Moore.

Although running in a three horse race, it was clear to see that Irish Saint was the superior horse and showed a great deal of speed and versatility making him a great new name to watch for the season.

Paddy Power are now sending him off on odds of 16-1 for The Arkle Trophy in next years Cheltenham Festival.

“That was a good start. It’s hard to find races for them at this time of year but he’s an interesting horse as he’s got plenty of speed,” said Nicholls.

Also in the spotlight was jockey Jamie Moore, as jumps ambassador for London racecourses he was eager to impress on Sandown’s first meeting of the new season.

He rode French gelding Baron Alco to victory for his father’s yard in the juvenile hurdle despite a serious stumble at the last flight. Both horse and jockey showed real character as they drove for a recovery and a clean win over Tim Vaughn’s The Wallace Line.

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