Paul Nicholls eyes personal first with Samarrive in Betfair Exchange Trophy

Promising youngster Samarrive will attempt to give Paul Nicholls a first success in the Grade 3 Betfair Exchange Trophy at Ascot on Saturday December 18th.

This is one of the few major handicaps to have eluded Nicholls, with runners-up Sud Bleu and Ptit Zig faring best of his runners in 2003 and 2013 respectively.

Samarrive is the third favourite and arrives on the back of a dominant eight and a half-length victory in a Listed handicap hurdle at Sandown Park earlier this month.

A winner on his only start in France for Gabriel Leenders, the four-year-old impressed on his British debut at Kempton Park in April and was seventh on his reappearance at Cheltenham in October.

Nicholls said: "I am very happy with Samarrive. We have not done a lot with him since Sandown, but he's in good shape and worked nicely on Wednesday morning.

"He could have obviously done without the eleven pounds he was given for winning at Sandown. I thought that was quite harsh, especially when you consider he runs here off the same mark as Dan Skelton's horse who won the Greatwood Hurdle.

"He will need to improve a lot to win a race like this on the back of an eleven-pound rise but, as you can see, he is unexposed and going forward will make a lovely novice chaser in the autumn."

Nicky Henderson has been the trainer to follow in the Betfair Exchange Trophy, sending out a record four winners, and he is responsible for favourite No Ordinary Joe.

Next in the market is Dan Skelton's West Cork, who had No Ordinary Joe back in third when winning last month's Grade 3 Greatwood Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham after a 631-day layoff.

High-class performer Goshen makes his handicap debut in this sphere as he bids to become the first top-weight to win the Betfair Exchange Trophy.

Other leading contenders include Onemorefortheroad, who completed a three-timer at Newbury recently, promising novice Luttrell Lad and the well-supported Benson.

Latest Horse-racing Videos