Paul Nicholls sweet on Romain De Senam in Cheltenham Festival handicap chase

Mon 26 Feb 2018

Paul Nicholls hopes a return to better ground can help Romain De Senam lay to rest his Cheltenham ghost in the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase on March 15.

The six-year-old has yet to taste victory in four previous visits to the track, with his closest effort being a head defeat to stablemate Diego Du Charmil in the 2016 Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle.

"Ground is important to him. He needs good ground. He won first time out at Chepstow when then they went flat out on fast ground and he absolutely bolted in. I ran him five days later at Stratford," said Nicholls.

"Then the two big handicaps at Cheltenham in November and December, he ran really tidy but the ground was too soft for him.

"I've kept him purposely fresh for Cheltenham. A fast-run race in a big field where he can arrive late will suit him and I am hoping he can be bang on for the day.

"He is one of our best chances."

The 10-times champion trainer is optimistic the best is yet to come from Movewiththetimes, who is poised to contest the Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase on the first day at the meeting on March 13.

He said: "He has got multiple entries but I suspect he will run in the Close Brothers on the first day.

"Last season he was a good novice hurdler and was second in the Betfair. He didn't run again after that as he had a minor injury.

"He has had three runs over fences this season, all at Cheltenham. He has run some really nice races in good company.

"He has not jumped as fluently as he might have done so we have done a lot of work on his jumping and he needs to improve in that department.

"He could be competitive in what is a competitive race. He is a real nice horse and we haven't seen the best of him yet."

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