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Last Updated: 05/12/13 2:10pm
Saint Roque: Set for Sandown
Paul Nicholls is keeping his fingers crossed conditions at Sandown do not deteriorate ahead of Saint Roque's bid for a fifth consecutive victory in Friday's Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle.
The seven-year-old has risen 30lb in the weights with victories at Fontwell, Worcester, Newton Abbot and Cheltenham and now steps up to Grade Two level for a race better known as the Winter Novices' Hurdle.
Nicholls said: "He's obviously on a good run and is improving all the time. He needs good ground. I haven't run him since he won at Cheltenham in October because he is at his best when racing fresh.
"He has won four races now, so is not that easy to place. He is very well and I am looking forward to running him again.
"I just hope they don't get any rain overnight. I don't think they will, but good to soft ground is as soft as he'd want it."
Saint Roque features in a six-runner field, with Nicholls' great rival Nicky Henderson saddling last month's runaway Ascot scorer Beat That.
Jonjo O'Neill's Oscar Fortune is on a hat-trick following victories at Huntingdon and Carlisle, while the Charlie Longsdon-trained Killala Quay has also won twice over timber, but was well held at Cheltenham last time.
Likely outsiders Back In June and House Party complete the sextet.