Fighting Fifth Hurdle: Monmiral on fact-finding mission as Paul Nicholls prays for forecast rain at Newcastle | Racing News

Paul Nicholls said Monmiral’s actions on Saturday at the Fighting Fifth Hurdle will mark the time of a four-year-old boy as a veteran trainer prays for rain to reach Newcastle.

Monmiral came out of the children’s company for the first time this weekend after winning all four of his debut in Britain last year, including the First Class Commemorative Challenge at Aintree when he was last seen in April.

He faces a daunting task to reclaim his season, taking on defending champion Epatante, a 7lb mare recipient, and winner of the Elite Hurdle Sceau Royal.

Nicholl could be assisted by the forecast, 10-20mm rain is expected in Gosforth Park between Friday night and Saturday morning. At present the soil is good, good to keep it soft in areas where 20mm of water has been added to other rail areas throughout the week.

“I’m glad to hear the weather reports that it’s going to rain a lot, because we were worried about rushing him,” Nicholls said. “If they get the predicted rain and it is best to be soft or slow, it would be fine.

Monmiral operates in Newbury along with the stablemate Clan Des Obeaux

“She’s just learned, she’s fine and we’re looking forward to the challenge.

“It’s a rising class for him but he couldn’t do more than he did.

“It will be difficult in the second year for four-year-olds because they do not receive any compensation for the difficulties so he has to be at the top of his game and he has to do well from last year.

“Only four-year-olds are the winners of this race but he does not know it. We are looking forward to a very good run but I do not predict that we will go and win. Let the horse do well. Talk.”

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Coach Nicky Henderson says Epatante is fine but expects a tough task as he defends his Fighting Fifth crown at Newcastle on Saturday, sitting at Sky Sports Racing.

Nicholls has already spoken out about his excitement over Monmiral’s forthcoming campaign, but has decided to suspend this for a while while affiliates try to earn big rewards for the crisis.

After Saturday, the Ditcheat supervisor can choose between a trip to Kempton for Christmas – to return with Epatante – or a ride on the trip.

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Jockey Adam Wedge is looking forward to another stint from the Silver Streak on Saturday Saturday of the Fifth War in Newcastle, sitting on Sky Sports Racing.

“He was bought to be a runner but he has a high profile,” Nicholls said. “Saturday’s competition will tell us where we are. It’s a real exploration activity, whether we’re going to the Christmas crisis after this or a hike on the trip.

“Obviously he’s a talented horse and he can’t be defeated. Last year he was lazy, careless and slow with everything he did at home. He’s got a little bit this year.

“He always keeps his best on the track, but that’s the sign of a good horse.

“We didn’t want to go running this year so we could run in this type of competition.”

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