Paul Nicholls © Photo Healy Racing
Insurrection bids to provide trainer Paul Nicholls with back-to-back victories in the Betfair Beacons Winter Novices’ Hurdle at Sandown on Friday.
The champion trainer plundered the Grade Two prize with Henri The Second 12 months ago and will have high hopes of striking gold once more with a horse who looked an exciting prospect when making a successful hurdling debut at Exeter last month.
The six-year-old won in the Irish point-to-point field before being snapped up to join the Noel Fehily Racing ownership group – and the former jockey is looking forward to seeing how he fares at a higher level.
“He won well at Exeter, we were very happy with him there, so we’ll step him up in class at Sandown and see how we get on,” said Fehily.
“We liked him a lot going to Exeter. We probably didn’t expect him to win in the fashion he did, but we were very happy to see him go and do what he did.
“The step up in trip (to two and a half miles) won’t do him any harm, I think. I’m not sure about the slower ground, but we won’t know until we run him in it.”
Insurrection is opposed by four rivals, all of whom also won on their most recent starts.
Dan and Harry Skelton team up with Deafening Silence, who like the Nicholls runner impressed at Exeter four weeks ago, while the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Josh The Boss is two from two over timber following victories at Warwick and Aintree.
Southoftheborder was bought for £145,000 after winning an Irish point-to-point and has since struck gold in a Ffos Las bumper and a maiden hurdle at Sandown for Nicky Henderson.
“He’s already won around Sandown and it was pretty soft that day,” said Henderson.
“He’s a lovely horse – he’s won a point-to-point, a bumper and his maiden hurdle but this might be very soft ground, it’s going to be horrible but we may as well find out if he handles it.”
Completing the small but select field is Personal Ambition, who won on his introduction at Warwick for Ben Pauling.