Nicholls keen on St Wilfrid pair
Views from connections ahead of Saturday's William Hill Great St Wilfrid including Orion's Bow and Kimberella.
Orion's Bow (centre, blue silks, pale blue ca): Put in a bold bid at Glorious Goodwood
Dandy Nicholls feels there is only a "cigarette paper" between Orion's Bow and Kimberella in Saturday's William Hill Great St Wilfrid at Ripon.
Nicholls has won the £70,000 sprint twice before with Ice Planet in 2005 and Tajneed three years later.
Neither of those went in with claims as strong as Orion's Bow, who won five on the bounce before coming off second best behind Dancing Star in the Stewards' Cup at Goodwood a fortnight ago, proving he was still in the best of health.
Kimberella was a few lengths behind his stablemate that day, but the time before had put up a career-best when winning a competitive race at York by two lengths and he was narrowly touched off in this 12 months ago.
"They're both in good form, obviously, but how well they are drawn in nine (Orion's Bow) and 16 I wouldn't know," said Nicholls.
"You'd have to say both have a good chance. Orion's might have lost his winning run at Goodwood but he was beaten by an improving filly.
"Things didn't go Kimberella's way at Goodwood but before that he'd put up a career-best.
"Given we know how well Kimberella acts at Ripon, that might even things out but there are other horses who go very well there, too.
"Both of them are at the top of their game, I've won this twice and it's definitely my best chance of winning it again since Tajneed.
"I don't favour one or the other, both might have to run in Group races soon, Orion's is 106 and Kimberella is only 1lb lower, there's a cigarette paper between them."
Nicholls trains locally to Ripon near Thirsk and another man with not far to travel is Bryan Smart, who sends two from his Sutton Bank base.
Nameitwhatyoulike was agonisingly touched off in the consolation race last year but has a course and distance win to his name, while Mythmaker has never run at the North Yorkshire track before.
"Both have got a chance and I've got one drawn on each side, which is nice," said Smart.
"We had plenty of rain on Wednesday night and Thursday which means the ground can't be too quick, it should be genuine good ground.
"Nameitwhatyoulike loves Ripon, he's a superstar there and was just touched off in the consolation race last year. He could run very well.
"The other horse is younger and has done very little wrong, he was drawn on the wrong side at Newcastle but before that ran a big race at York.
"He's also been gelded since he last ran. There's not a lot between them."
The rain came just in time for Robert Cowell's Toofi, who found the ground too quick at Goodwood when a long way behind Orion's Bow.
Previously he had been beaten only four lengths by stablemate Outback Traveller in the Wokingham at Ascot and Cowell has booked smart northern apprentice Adam McNamara.
"I would ignore his running at Goodwood. The ground was too fast and he didn't act on it at all," Cowell told At The Races.
"He's a horse that needs a little bit of ease in the ground. If he came back to anything like his form at Ascot or his Ayr Gold Cup form from last year, we're live off his handicap mark, for sure."
Mick Channon's Moonraker went close in a similar race at Newcastle but has been well beaten the last twice.
Channon said: "He had no luck whatsoever in the Stewards' Cup so we are having another go at trying to win a big one. He is in good form and goes there in good heart. Hopefully we will get a change of luck."
Henry Candy's horses are running better now than at any stage of the season and he runs Son Of Africa.
"I think a big field like this will suit him. He has got a lot of ability but I don't think he has been right all year," said Candy, who won the race with subsequent Group One winner Markab in 2009.
"He is drawn 20 out of 20 and there is a theory that he does not like being in among horses, but I don't buy into that. To be brutally honest I think he was just a bit outclassed in the Stewards' Cup, but on the plus side he goes for this race in good order."
Top-weight is Mick Easterby's Perfect Pasture, winner of the Scurry Handicap at the Curragh last month, while 2013 winner Baccarat represents Godolphin and trainer Charlie Appleby.
David O'Meara and Richard Fahey, responsible for the last five winners between them, are well represented.
O'Meara runs Intisaab, Louis The Pious and Mujassam, while Fahey has Alben Star, Nuno Tristan and Tatlisu to cheer home.