Bold Chief primed for hurdles bow at Fontwell

Trainer Paul Nicholls
Trainer Paul Nicholls
The sun ought to shine for Fontwell's Thursday afternoon racing

Irish raiders among the Fontwell fields

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Bold Chief will jump his first obstacle under rules at Fontwell this afternoon.

Champion trainer Paul Nicholls is ready to hand the seven-year-old his hurdles debut in the Blue Square Staying Novices’ Hurdle (2.05pm).

A son of Oscar, Bold Chief has already won three races and bagged a hat-trick of seconds on the point-to-point circuit for Dorset handler Richard Barber.

Barber runs Nicholls’ satellite yard in Seaborough, while training his own horses between the flags.

Cheltenham Gold Cup hero See More Business and Foxhunters Chase winner Earthmover both began their careers with him before joining up with Nicholls.

While more recently, Dualla Lord and Aiteen Thirtythree have walked the same path.

And while Bold Chief may not yet be in their class, his debut fourth in a two-mile bumper has offered encouragement to the Ditcheat team.

The Philip Hobbs-trained Colour Squadron took the honours in that race back in October.

He has since won a maiden hurdle, before losing by a short-head to Captain Conan in the Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown last weekend.

Although Bold Chief was well held by Colour Squadron over the minimum trip, he will step up to an extended two miles and six furlongs this afternoon and will relish the added test of stamina.

The gelding, owned by the Eyre family, is expected to face 11 rivals at Fontwell.

King’s Realm and Makethe Mostofnow set the standard, having already chalked up victories in this sphere.

But they will have to defy penalties if they are to taste success again.

Nicholls has also entered Bold Chief’s stable-mate – and half-brother – Oscarslad.

Fontwell’s seven-race card starts with the Docker Hughes Memorial Novices’ Handicap Hurdle at 1.05pm.

Gold Cup-winning trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies makes a rare visit to the course with Sherwani Wolf in the Crohn’s In Children Research Association Novices’ Chase (1.35pm).

And the action will end with a competitive bumper at 4.05pm.

Gates open at 11am.