Saphir now bound for Hennessy

Paul Nicholls has his sights set on the Hennessy Gold Cup with Saphir Du Rheu after his third at Ascot on Saturday.

Saphir Du Rheu: Heading for the Hennessy after Ascot return.

The talented seven-year-old could not better Antony and Junction Fourteen in the £100,000 Sodexo Gold Cup but is expected to be better for the run at Newbury on November 26.

Nicholls' charge was the beaten favourite in the prestigious staying handicap chase 12 months ago and subsequently switched to the smaller obstacles, finishing sixth in the World Hurdle at Cheltenham. He is, however, expected to stick to fences this season.

The Ditcheat trainer said: "He will go straight for the Hennessy. He had a right good blow.

"I thought he ran a good race in it last year when he was fifth. He will be a bit lighter and stronger and we will have a go at it.

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"He was never right last year. Nick (Scholfield) said to make more use of him and what we wanted to get him doing was jumping well. He can only build on that."

Saphir Du Rheu can be backed at 25/1 in Sky Bet's Hennessy market.

Stablemate Cliffs Of Dover could be seen next at Cheltenham's Open Meeting after taking his record over hurdles to five wins from six starts at Wetherby on Friday.

Nicholls said: "If he is okay he might possibly go for the Triumph Hurdle Trial Cheltenham in two weeks' time. If not I might save him and go to Doncaster for the Summit.

"I looked to see if he could go for the Elite, but he can't run in that. It was a good performance at Wetherby. He has improved physically from run to run.

"He will have one more run, then have a break, as if he ends up being a Triumph horse he will want a break."

Nicholls also had news of French import Dolos, who made a winning start for his new yard in a juvenile hurdle at Chepstow.

He said: "I'm going to put Dolos in the Grade One juvenile hurdle at Auteuil next weekend."

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