Nicholls on his Galway team
Paul Nicholls has warned the participation of improving novice chaser Alcala in next week's TheTote.com Galway Plate is far from certain.
The seven-year-old set up a potential outing in the two-mile-six-furlong contest with his third straight success over fences this season on Saturday, when landing the Summer Plate at Market Rasen.
Although a potential outing in the August 2 feature was mentioned after his victory at the Lincolnshire track, the Ditcheat handler, who won the race in 2008 with Oslot, seems likely to pursue other options.
Nicholls said: "Alcala is going the right way and I am very pleased with how he has progressed. He is in the Galway Plate, but I've not made my mind up yet.
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"It does come soon enough from the other day and if I was serious about Galway I would have not gone to Market Rasen on Saturday. I will just keep his options open. Nothing is set in stone.
"Off 11st 3lb it would be quite tough for a novice chaser. When Oslot won it he was off 143.
"It is just whether we hang fire and are better off trying to win a few nice novice chases, as he is a novice for the season.
"Bagad Bihoue, who has already won four novice chases, and Alcala are two good novice chasers and I don't see why they can't do exactly the same as San Benedeto and Frodon last season."
While plans remain fluid for Alcala, a trip to Ireland for the Guinness Galway Hurdle looks to be on the cards for Grade Two winner Zubayr, who has had two runs on the all-weather at Kempton since finishing fifth on his last jumps start in the Swinton Hurdle at Haydock in May.
Nicholls said: "Zubayr is in the Galway Hurdle and he is probably going to go there. He has run well on the Flat twice. He loves decent ground and it is a big prize.
"I've already won a Galway Plate and it would be nice to win a Galway Hurdle."
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