MASTER trainer Paul Nicholls has nominated the hugely exciting Captain Teague as his 'best chance' of a winner as the jumps season kicks off on Friday.
The Champion Bumper third makes his debut on Friday in the 2m3½f Persian War Novices' Hurdle at Chepstow.
Victory in the Grade 2 is worth £38,475 but far bigger riches lie in wait should this son of Doyen turn into the superstar Nicholls expects.
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Captain Teague is already the 5-4 fav with the Skeltons' Rock House leading the supporting cast at 5-1.
But Nicholls appears pretty bullish on the Captain, saying he is 'more of a man' this season as it looks like he could maybe be targeted at the Ballymore at the Festival.
The trainer told Betfair Racing: "This is a tough race to pitch him in on his debut over hurdles but he is smart, was our leading bumper horse last season, finishing third in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham.
"It’s encouraging that he won his Point-to-Point before joining us, he’s done plenty of schooling and home and is a solid jumper at home.
"He was a bit difficult to train last winter as he suffered from sore shins at times but this year he is more of a man.
"All of our runners on this card have done plenty of work and look fit. I’m very happy with his preparation.
"He is an exciting prospect now starting over hurdles."
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The reigning champion trainer has a strong group travelling to the Welsh track including Panjari, an intriguing Listed winner on the Flat in Germany.
But it's a first-time-out specialist who Nicholls also fancies to run a big race.
He added: "Danny Kirwan is best fresh, loves good ground round a flat track and it’s a plus that he can now run in these veterans races.
"He almost won a £100,000 handicap at Ascot first time out last year when he was only caught in the last half furlong.
"That was a stiff enough course for him so I’m hoping Chepstow will suit him better. His first run is usually his best."
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