Paul Nicholls issues Alcala Galway Plate warning

Thu 27 Jul 2017

Paul Nicholls has warned the participation of improving novice chaser Alcala in next week's Galway Plate is far from certain.

The seven-year-old set up a potential outing in the two-mile-six-furlong contest with his third straight success over fences this season on Saturday, when landing the Summer Plate at Market Rasen.

Although a potential outing in the August 2 feature was mentioned after his victory at the Lincolnshire track, 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.

"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."

While plans remain fluid for Alcala, a trip to Ireland for the Guinness Galway Hurdle looks to be on the cards for Grade Two winner Zubayr, who has had two runs on the all-weather at Kempton since finishing fifth on his last jumps start 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."

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