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Paul Nicholls has decided to run Al Ferof in the Ryanair Chase rather than the Champion Chase or the Cheltenham Gold Cup. The grey effectively ruled himself out of the Gold Cup when appearing not to stay the three-mile trip in the Denman Chase at Newbury in February.
Sent off the 5-4 favourite, he finished 25 lengths adrift of Harry Topper in second place. Jockey Daryl Jacob suggested that the two and a half-mile Ryanair Chase would be the right race for him. Nicholls considered the Champion Chase but the going does not look like being sufficiently testing to slow down the specialist two-milers. Nicholls had won five of the last seven runnings of the Denman Chase but Al Ferof emptied quickly in the home straight. The trainer retains plenty of faith in the horse who won at the Cheltenham festival in 2011. The grey son of Dom Alco picked up an injury after winning the Paddy Power Gold Cup in 2012 and did not reappear until November last year. Read more here NYK Media, www.horsesgalore.co.uk