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Calipto boosts Triumph Hurdle claims with Newbury success

Paul Nicholls is eyeing a third JCB Triumph Hurdle win in seven years after Calipto was promoted to joint-favourite for the Cheltenham Festival contest following an impressive success at Newbury on Saturday.

The French import had been victorious on his British debut at the Berkshire track towards the end of November and returned with an even more eye-catching win under Daryl Jacob over the weekend.

Although running against older horses off level weights due to a penalty picked up for his previous success, Jacob gave Calipto a confident ride before cruising up to challenge two out and then steadily pulling away from Little John.

"I didn't really want to run him on the heavy ground, but if we wanted to head to Cheltenham then this was really the last chance for him as this gives me a month to fine-tune him," said Nicholls.

"I think a faster-run race at the Festival will help him, although to be fair he doesn't have the experience of some of the horses that I have sent there before as he is a real jumping-bred horse, rather than an ex-Flat horse. It will be hard for him in the Triumph as he is still a big baby, but it is the obvious target for him and then he might go to Auteuil after that."

Nicholls claimed Triumph Hurdle glory with Celestial Halo in 2008 and Zarkandar three years later and Calipto now heads the market for this season's renewal alongside Le Rocher, who has already picked up a couple of Cheltenham victories in Grade 1 and Grade 2 events for Nick Williams.


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Calipto boosts Triumph Hurdle claims with Newbury success

Paul Nicholls is eyeing a third JCB Triumph Hurdle win in seven years after Calipto was promoted to joint-favourite for the Cheltenham Festival contest following an impressive success at Newbury on Saturday.

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