Paul Nicholls insists the inclusion of complete unknown Ulck Du Lin in the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle is “not a plot”.
While most members of the champion trainer’s stable are familiar names, Ulck Du Lin was the only horse in the four-year-old handicap not to have had a hurdle run in Britain or Ireland so far.
The new recruit, owned by Mrs Johnny de la Hey, has had five runs in France and won once over hurdles at Niort and then at Marseille in September as well as scoring over fences at Vichy a fortnight later.
He sits on a handy weight of 10st 5lb and was instantly supported in the betting from 20-1 to 14s with Betfred.
“It’s not a plot,” said Nicholls.
“He’s won two hurdles and a chase and he’s a big horse who has worked nicely and went well in a racecourse gallop.
“We thought if we ran him in England and he won he’d go up to 140, so we kept him back for the Fred Winter.
“I do think he’ll be a chaser, but he could prove to be well-in (at the weights).
“He’s fit and well, but we’ll have to see how he gets on.”