Viking Flagship is best


DAVID NICHOLSON can close the gap at the top of the trainers table by completing a double at Cheltenham today with Viking Flagship (Faucets For Mira Rada Showers Silver Trophy Chase) and Miss Optimist (EBF Novice Handicap" Hurdle).

Nicholson is currently around £65,000 in prize money behind Martin Pipe and faces an uphill battle to retain the title he won in the past two seasons. But he should boost his championship hopes with victory in the two most valuable races on Cheltenham's card.

Viking Flagship has dominated the two mile chasing scene for the past three years, winning the Queen Mother Champion Chase here in 1994

Though beaten by Klairon Davis in that race last month, he showed himself as good as ever with a devastating victory at Aintree a fortnight later. Stepped up to two and a half miles in the Melling Chase and partnered by Tony McCoy in place of the injured Adrian Maguire, he jumped his rivals into the ground and romped clear in the straight for a seven length triumph.