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Dodging Bullets set for a return

Dodging Bullets set for a return

Champion trainer Paul Nicholls will finally be able to call upon Dodging Bullets for the first time this season, as one of last season’s stars returns to action at Newbury this weekend. The eight-year-old won 3 Grade 1 races in a row last year; the highlight was winning the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham. Sadly, for racing fans we haven’t seen Dodging Bullets since that day. The horse has been side-lined with niggly splint injury, but Nicholls confirmed to the media this morning that his star was now fit to return.

"We're thrilled with him at the moment. He looks in great shape and is great in his skin. He's done loads of work and is fit enough to run well on Saturday, but whatever he does a race is going to make a difference for Cheltenham." I don't think we've ever had him as fit and well going into his first run of the season," the trainer added. "I'm happy he's in good enough shape to run very tidily on Saturday. He's eight now and should be at the peak of his powers." Nicholls said on Tuesday morning.

Dodging Bullets will run in the Grade 2 Betfair Exchange Chase at Newbury on Saturday. After nearly a year off Bullets will undoubtedly have some rustiness that will need shaking off as he comes up against L’Ami Serge in the eight-horse field. It will be interesting to see if Dodging Bullets will be competitive, or will need this run just to ease back into the groove. With Cheltenham only round the corner, it’s a race against time, to see if last years’ winner can get back to winning ways in time for the showpiece festival. Dodging Bullets also won the Clarence House Chase at Sandown, making Nicholls the most successful trainer in the race with five wins. Nicholls won the Clarence House Chase three years in a row from 2009-2011, with Ruby Walsh winning twice and Champion Jockey AP McCoy winning on Master Minded.

In reality, I think Paul Nicholls will be hoping that Dodging Bullets just comes through Saturday’s racing with no reaction from the injury. Anything more from the race would be a bonus. Nicholls would love to head to Cheltenham with a win under Bullets belt, but a mile in the tank is more important at this stage. Dodging Bullets is a best price of 8/1 for this year's Queen Mother Chase at Cheltenham, a price that will surely come in if he wins this weekend. He will be our horse racing tip for the festival if he does.

Article by Phil Barrs of SBAT.com