Another Nicholls pensioner to take plaudits in Lexus Chase
Kauto Star has already given Paul Nicholls one wanted Christmas present by winning the King George on Boxing Day at Kempton and Noland can follow up with another Grade One victory in the Lexus Chase.
The focus now shifts to Ireland’s big Christmas festival, with the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown being the standout contest.
Some big names have won the showpiece in recent years including Best Mate, Beef Or Salmon and Denman and it is Noland who can add his name to the list in 2011.
Noland is 9/1 in the horse racing odds to win the Lexus Chase and this looks a massive each-way price given the form of the Nicholls yard at present and the form of the trainer in the race.
Nicholls has won the race in two of the last four years with Denman and What A Friend and could have also been celebrating a Neptune Collonges victory had he not fallen two fences from home in 2008.
Furthermore, it is interesting how Noland is the only horse that Nicholls has sent to Ireland for the entire festival, which must show how positive the yard are of his chances.
Meanwhile, British-trained horses have also dominated the most recent renewals of the Lexus Chase, triumphing in four of the last five years.
With a host of Irish young guns in the field this year, such as 13/8 favourite Quito De La Roque and the exciting Rubi Light, the competition looks tough, but Noland does have that extra touch of class.
He may now be a ten-year-old, but Kauto Star has already proved that age is no barrier to big-race success and Noland has hardly been run too much.
Noland has not been seen since February, but goes well fresh, while Quito De La Roque will have to recover from a major stamina battle last month and Rubi Light is unproven over 3m.
Joncol may pose the biggest threat at 9/2, given he has never been outside of the places in four Grade One starts over course and distance.