Paul Nicholls not committing Frodon to Betfair Chase, keeping options open

Paul Nicholls is prepared to leave the door open for Frodon to run in the Betfair Chase before the King George VI Chase following his winning reappearance at Wincanton.

It was a vintage performance in the Badger Beer from the popular 10-year-old, who jumped and galloped with plenty of zest in the hands of Bryony Frost and stayed on strongly under top weight to see off the in-form Lord Accord.

Kempton's Christmas highlight, which Frodon won in 2020, is the obvious next step, but Nicholls has not ruled out a bid for Haydock's Betfair Chase on November 19 for which he is one of only six entries in a race the Ditcheat handler has won a record six times.

"I didn't get chance to talk to Paul (Vogt, owner) about it on Saturday, but we said the King George would be his target," Nicholls told Betfair.

"I would just keep half an eye on the Betfair Chase at Haydock in case it cuts up. There are only six entries and you've got to keep all your options open, you never know.

"I would say he had a pretty tough race down at Wincanton and the King George would be the sensible thing, but I will keep an eye on the Betfair Chase because it's a race I like winning and it's a race I like to have a runner in, you never know."

Nicholls saddled a four-timer at Wincanton on Saturday and one who won in the same colours as Frodon was Knappers Hill, who followed up his successful return in Chepstow's Silver Trophy by bagging the Elite Hurdle.

That success puts him on the periphery of the Champion Hurdle picture, and he could put his Cheltenham Festival aspirations to the test with a run at Prestbury Park in the International Hurdle next month.

Nicholls said: "He's progressing up the ladder, he's got a long way to go to get there (to be a Champion Hurdle contender), but he takes each race step by step and next time we will know where we stand with him.

"I've got three options. He's in the Fighting Fifth, there's the International at Cheltenham and the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton on Boxing Day.

"I suspect he'll go for one of those and I'm favouring slightly the International at Cheltenham because it will give us a good indication if he acts on that track, and he likes good ground as well which it may well be there."

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