PAUL NICHOLLS has revealed how he is sticking to his guns with huge Cheltenham Festival fancy Hermes Allen.
The Challow Hurdle winner is three from three over hurdles and the current 5-2 favourite for the Ballymore.
But during a stable tour visit on Monday, the 13-time champion trainer let slip how one close pal had told him he should consider another race.
The Ballymore is run over 2m5f on the speedier old course at Cheltenham on the second day.
While the Albert Bartlett is run over 3m of the stamina-sapping new course on Gold Cup day.
Speaking about the Sir Alex Ferguson-owned horse's targets, Nicholls said: "Someone told me if he went for the Albert Bartlett then he'd be odds-on.
"But I don't look at the betting.
"I've just thought the Ballymore was his ideal race from the start."
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It doesn't pay to second-guess Nicholls.
He enters this Festival with a small but strong squad including Supreme fancy Tahmuras and live Gold Cup chance and King George winner Bravemansgame.
The 60-year-old is currently operating at a red-hot 24 per cent strike rate and shows no signs of slowing down.
Crucially, with dry weather forecast and watering commencing at Cheltenham, Nicholls said he would take good ground for both Hermes Allen and Bravemansgame.
He told Betfair: "They look great in their coats. I don't mind good ground for the both of them, good to soft, not too wet for them, the forecast looks good but who knows what it’ll be in two weeks time.
"At the moment they are watering to keep it on the easier side of good, which I suppose suits everybody but you can never tell what will happen in the lead up to the meeting that week.
"I am very happy with them though and I am looking forward to running them."
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