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After making it two out of two over fences at Cheltenham, Marracudja earned a 33-1 quote for the Arkle Chase.

But ignore the temptation to take that generous price because trainer Paul Nicholls said his five-year-old will not run at the Festival in March.

Though the Festival seems a no-no for Marracudja, El Bandit could head there in March after Nicholls said: "It wouldn't be the greatest surprise to enter for the Ryanair World Hurdle.

He'll have a break now and could return for the 3m Grade Two Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury's Hennessy meeting."Read more: Paul Nicholls targets Bet Victor Gold Cup and Topham Chase for newly-formed Ditcheat Thoroughbreds.

We'll go for the Grade One Henry VIII Novices' Chase at Sandown in December, give the Cheltenham Festival a miss and bring him back for Aintree and Punchestown.

"As he matures he'll get better but the race I'd really like to see him in is the Grade One Tingle Creek next year [Sandown, December, 2017] because he reminds me of Twist Magic who won it for me in 20."Read more: Paul Nicholls bets on own horse at Chepstow Festival to show how much young talent is coming through.

The win was the middle leg of a Nicholls treble at jumping HQ and continued the stable's blistering October form.

The performances of El Bandit, Marracudja and Cliffs Of Dover carried the yard to one of the fastest 50s in NH history for a season, 24 of which have come this month with a 35 per cent strike rate.

Not even the injury to number one jockey Sam Twiston-Davies at Chepstow on October 9 has disrupted Nicholls who has shared the rides between his other riders with Scholfield (seven wins), Harry Cobden (four) and Sean Bowen (four) all showing they are just as competent in the saddle.

Bowen had his Cheltenham moment in the opening 2m5f novices' hurdle aboard El Bandit, the five-year-old on whom he landed the Grade Two Persian War Novices' Hurdle at Chepstow minutes after being called up to replace the incapacitated Twiston-Davies.

The Milan gelding scrambled home by three-quarters of a length in the five-runner event after regaining the lead close home, but Nicholls said the early crawl was all against his improving stayer.

Cobden brought up the half-century in the closing conditional jockeys' handicap hurdle, the three-year-old storming clear to complete an eight-day hat-trick having won at Kempton Park and Wincanton before that.



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