Caldwell Potter will not be in action at the Cheltenham Festival next month, with Paul Nicholls already setting his sights on a novice chase campaign next season; "He might go to Aintree if we are happy, but he has been bought to go chasing, that is his job. He's next year's chaser"
Sunday 11 February 2024 16:06, UK
Record-buy Caldwell Potter, who is part-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson, will not head to the Cheltenham Festival as Paul Nicholls says he needs more time to acclimatise.
The Grade One winner was top lot at the Andy and Gemma Brown dispersal that took place last week, with Highflyer Bloodstock's Anthony Bromley going to a record €740,000 on behalf of long-time Ditcheat owners John Hales, Ged Mason, Ferguson and Peter Done.
The big-money acquisition came just 48 hours after leading novice chaser Hermes Allen suffered a fatal fall in the Scilly Isles Chase at Sandown and connections now appear to have a ready-made replacement to fill the void next season.
And with the six-year-old's future lying over the larger obstacles, the champion trainer is in no rush with his new recruit - which means the Cheltenham Festival is off the table this term.
Nicholls said: "The lads sadly lost Hermes Allen last weekend and I guess they felt it's a lot of money, but between the four of them it is not that bad. He's a nice horse to replace Hermes Allen to go novice chasing.
"He won't go to Cheltenham because he won't acclimatise in time. He might go to Aintree if we are happy, but he has been bought to go chasing, that is his job. He's next year's chaser."
Former Manchester United manager Ferguson was no stranger to record signings during his time in the Old Trafford dugout and now is jointly responsible for ensuring Caldwell Potter became the most expensive National Hunt horse ever sold at public auction.
Never miss a story with all the latest racing news, interviews and features on your phone. Find out more
However, Nicholls points out that cost is spread among four of his longest-standing owners and, rather poignantly, it is Hermes Allen's groom Mike Couchman who has been entrusted with helping the yard newcomer adjust to life at Ditcheat.
"Was he that much more than the horse Darren Yeats bought the other year? Probably not, and horses get sold for huge numbers privately that you never hear about," continued Nicholls.
"He's a Grade One winner, has got huge potential and it's a lot easier when you can spread the cost between four people, so I'm excited to have him.
"He arrived on Monday and Mike, the lad who used to look after Hermes Allen, is looking after him and he is thrilled to bits - we just hope we are lucky with him."