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Last Updated: February 21, 2013 12:44pm
Fago: Searching for a confidence boost
Fago lines up in the Kilbrittain Castle Novices' Chase at Sandown on Friday in search of a confidence boosting success before a possible tilt at the Cheltenham Festival.
The French import carried a tall reputation before he had even made his debut for Paul Nicholls at Newbury and he didn't let the grapevine down with an impressive display at the Berkshire venue.
The five-year-old looked poised to build on that victory and put himself in line for a crack at Sprinter Sacre and the Arkle Trophy only to fall at the second last in the Kingmaker Chase at Warwick, a renowned Festival Trial.
Nicholls still has plenty of faith in Fago though. "He won nicely at Newbury first time and was hard on the bridle when he fell two out in the Kingmaker at Warwick," said the trainer.
"That was the last thing we wanted to happen before the Festival and he runs at Sandown on Friday as I want to get some more experience into him."
Providing things go according to plan at the Esher circuit, a trip to the Festival is still very much on the agenda as Nicholls revealed: "He's in the Jewson and the Arkle, but I am definitely leaning towards the Arkle.
"The race might just be run to suit him in the Arkle. He's a really decent horse. Whatever happens, when he's had a summer with us and we can start from scratch again in the autumn and he has strengthened up, he is going to be a really good horse."
Fago is set to face just two rivals in Gallox Bridge and Kapga De Cerisy; official ratings suggest that the pair have it all to do at the weights but both were wide-margin winners of their latest starts over fences.