Dodging Bullets gives us Tingle win
Trainer Paul Nicholls believes Dodging Bullets has all the makings of a Queen Mother Champion Chase winner after his success in the Tingle Creek.
Tipped in our column and feature in our newsletter, the six-year-old recorded his sixth career win over hurdles on Saturday as he finished the strongest in a two-way battle between himself and Somersby.
Sam Twiston-Davies had cruised round Sandown for the majority of the 16 furlong contest and did not cut lose until the final 200 yards as Dodging Bullets went on to score by two lengths.
I thought at the start of the season that he might be a Champion Chase horse.
While the absence of Sprinter Sacre and Sire De Grugy somewhat undermines Nicholls’ ninth winner in the Tingle Creek, the Ditcheat trainer feels the success highlights how well Dodging Bullets has made the transition from the Flat to Jumps.
Nicholls feels Dodging Bullets is hitting his straps at just the right time and claims the best priced 14/1 with Betfred Champion Chase contender has a real chance of being in the winner’s enclosure at the Cheltenham Festival.
“I thought he’d go close first time but he obviously needed the run,” said Nicholls. “We’ve done a few different things with him since and all credit to Harry Derham, who rides him every other day with Megan [his daughter].
“He ran as well as he looked today – I thought he looked better than ever. I thought at the start of the season that he might be a Champion Chase horse. We’ve been hard on him since his last run. He’s grown up a bit and he travels really well.”
Meanwhile, Somersby trainer Michael Channon junior was delighted with the outing for his runner-up, although he admitted he needs to cut out the mistakes to have a chance in the Champion Chase.
“He likes it up front. We did that in the Queen Mother and he seems to jump a lot better. He makes fewer mistakes and has his own way a bit more,” said Channon.
Somersby finished second to Sire De Grugy in the Champion Chase last year and is a best 33/1 with Bet Victor to go one better this year, with the defending champion 4/1 with bet 365.
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