Paul Nicholls dares anyone to take on 'brilliant' Stage Star with Cheltenham hero hellbent on Paddy Power Gold Cup win | The Sun

PAUL NICHOLLS has dared his rivals to take on his 'brilliant' Stage Star in the Paddy Power Gold Cup.

Nicholls' awesome Cheltenham Festival-winning hero is the 4-1 favourite to return to the scene of his Turners victory with another win.

The seven-year-old gelding flopped completely when last seen at Aintree in April, finishing dead last of five.

But the dynamic Ditcheat boss says this race has been his target all along and nothing will stand in his way.

Betfair ambassador Nicholls said: "He is in top order as he returns to the scene of his superb success in the Turners at the Festival in March.

"You can put a line through his last start at Aintree which was one race too many after a busy campaign.

"The Paddy Power has been the target for him since the summer and there are plenty of positives as he is brilliant fresh, having won first time out for the last three seasons.

"He also likes racing left handed, will not mind how soft the ground gets and we know he handles Cheltenham.

"Yes, he does have a lot of weight because he is rated on what he achieved last year but it helps that the top one runs, which means Stage Star is on a nice racing weight of 11st 7lbs."

Nicholls also gave a positive mention to the fancied Il Ridoto in the same race.

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This 10-1 chance looks incredibly interesting on debut for red-hot trainers

Claimer Freddie Gingell takes the ride after his brilliant Haldon Gold Cup success on Elixir De Nutz last week.

And Nicholls said: "He ran a series of solid races last season carrying big weights and finally got his reward with a fluent victory at this track in January, then didn’t take to the National fences at Aintree.

"He is 6lbs higher mark now so it’s a bonus that Freddie Gingell’s claim takes off a handy 5 lbs.

"Il Ridoto is a year older, more mature and should be knocking on the door again in this competitive handicap, especially racing with little more than 10st on his back."

Paddy Power Gold Cup odds (via Betfair)

4-1 Stage Star
6-1 The Real Whacker, Unexpected Party
7-1 Il Ridoto, Notlongtillmay
9-1 Easy As That
10-1 Angels Breath, Fugitif
14-1 Final Orders, Harpers Brook
16-1 Torn And Frayed
20-1 Authorized Art, Whistleinthedark
33-1 Black Gerry


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