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About: Paul Nicholls Racing

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February 12, 2019

It is great to hear that the show is back on the road tomorrow after a frustrating week for everyone in racing.

The bonus is that the Betfair Hurdle and Denman Chase lost last Saturday at Newbury have now been added to the card at Ascot on Saturday. That is brilliant news.

Team Ditcheat has been all dressed up with nowhere to go over the past week while the BHA conducted tests for equine flu in well over 150 stables around the country. Our horses were all clear as I expected as we gave them their annual winter flu jabs early in January. It is exciting to be back in business again, planning ahead once more though sorting out jockeys for my runners at Ascot, Haydock and Wincanton on Saturday will not be easy.
Harry Cobden is definitely at Ascot for several of ours including Cyrname and Clan Des Obeaux, while Sam Twiston-Davies is back on Politologue in the Betfair Ascot Chase.

Today I am off to the unveiling of the Grand National weights in Liverpool before heading to Old Trafford for Manchester United’s match against Paris St-Germain. Of my three National entries Warrior’s Tale is more likely to go for the Topham, Give Me A Copper could be interesting depending how he gets on in the Ultima Chase at Cheltenham and we have yet to make a decision on Black Corton.

One who will not be running again this season is Dynamite Dollars who has had a minor setback. It is a big blow as we had high hopes of him in the Arkle Chase at Cheltenham. Hopefully he will be back better than ever next season.

We expect to have plenty of runners with chances on Saturday so please be sure to turn to my Betfair column which goes live late on Friday afternoon.


February 11, 2019

I was riding Politologue this morning when it occurred to me I had totally forgotten to write a blog yesterday, I blame SAS who dares wins, a great programme that took up the space in my day where the blog normally takes place.

Well, what do I say about the week just passed? Certainly in my racing life it was the most unusual, and while in this blog I am not going to talk about the Flu outbreak mainly because there has been a lot of opinion cast on the subject matter and I think we are all in agreement, the quicker we can get racing back on with healthy horses everyone will be happy.

Going back to what seems a life time away the start of the week was great, kicked off with a battling performance from the thoroughly likeable Touch Kick, who under a very determined Harry Cobden ride jumped well and fought on extremely well after the last fence to secure his second win of this season, in the process booking his entry into the Kim Muir chase at Cheltenham.

Our road show then took us to Ludlow on Wednesday where Tommy Silver endured absolutely rotten luck when being carried out going towards the third last fence, made all the more annoying by Harry saying he felt full of running at the time. Just when you think it is not your day however we were lucky enough to have another nice runner to look forward too, that came in the shape of Miranda a four year old filly but in my opinion hugely exciting sire Camelot. Miranda, bought for owners group by Tom Malone out Arqana in Deauville had some excellent form on the level in France and has since taken to jumping really well.

She did not put a foot wrong at Ludlow and her performance in part is down to two key people in our team. Megan who rides Miranda everyday does a great job with a filly who can have her own view on life at times, in fact we laugh sometimes as we feel meg and Miranda are very similar, quite strong willed and if they have an issue, they are likely to air their opinion. They get on well though and Meg does a great job. The second person is Brendan Powell, a name you will not of heard in this blog but he deserves great credit, he rides out for us once or twice a week and teamed up with Miranda in a lot of her schooling, he calls Miranda his little Ditcheat girlfriend but all joking aside he has done a lovely job in giving her confidence in her jumping, something that really shone through on the track.

Of course the highlight with any Owners Group horse is being able to hang out with one of the men charged with taking care of the huge syndicates and that is of course Ryan Bliss, we always have great car journeys, with long chats about our joint love for racing and cricket, this one made better by having the amateur champ Will Biddick with us, he unsurprisingly rode a winner to make it a fun journey home for us all.

When I got home from Racing Wednesday night, I was looking forward to the next four days of action, as I had said last week we had some really smart horses lined up and ready to go so it was quite a shock to wake up to the news we did Thursday morning.

Since then we have obviously had to take things day by day listening to the updates on offer and train the horses normally ensuring they are ticking over for when racing does resume. In terms of bio security in the yard I would be lying if anything has changed and that is not to say we are in anyway blasé about the situation more so that Paul and Clifford are extremely tight on the health and well being of our horses anyway. Disinfectant buckets and things of that nature are nothing new so really it has just been a case of continuing the good practice already in place.

Betfair super Saturday at Newbury is without doubt one of my favourite days racing of the whole calendar, a lot of top class horses running at one of the finest courses in the country, all placed the perfect distance away from Cheltenham so to wake up on Saturday and not be heading off to Berkshire was mightily frustrating. Watching all of Saturdays runners do two canters absolutely bouncing out of their skin was frustrating for Paul as he knew how well he had the team.

I have just read that a decision will be made at ten thirty this evening so I guess all of Racing will have their fingers crossed for some good news, I know I certainly will. If racing does go ahead this weekend, then there is masses for us to look forward too, none more so than Cyrname and Politologue in the grade one Ascot Chase. They are both in good form and hopefully they will get their chance to run in a huge race where conditions should suit them both well.

Until then however, let’s keep our fingers crossed for some good news.

Go well


February 4, 2019

The thumping success of Dolos at Sandown on Saturday came as a timely tonic at the end of a challenging week after a mixture of frost and snow played havoc with our running plans.

Several meetings were lost including Wincanton where we had a hatful of chances and the two day card at Musselburgh which we were again targeting.

Team Ditcheat then worked overtime clearing the gallops and salting the roads around the village when the blizzard arrived late on Thursday.
I owe them all a huge thanks for making sure that we were able to canter all the horses from both yards on Friday morning despite the worst of the weather.

Things hadn’t gone the way of Dolos this season so far but he was very good on Saturday at a track which plays to his strengths as he came home clear of Gino Trail. He needs a fast run race, enjoys Sandown and two miles on soft ground is perfect for him. Dolos will definitely not be going to Cheltenham but as he didn’t have a hard race he might turn out again quickly at Newbury on Saturday in the Game Spirit Chase and then I’ll keep him fresh for the Celebration Chase at Sandown at the end of the season.

Copain De Classe wants much faster going while Le Prezien didn’t jump well out of the soft ground.

I was thrilled to see Give Me A Copper run a cracker to be fourth in the staying Chase after such a long lay off. He was giving plenty of weight to the first three, travelled strongly until tiring going to two out and his jumping was a joy to watch as he was foot perfect throughout. It was a brilliant effort on his third start over fences when you consider I had not been hard on him at home and he hadn’t been away for a gallop. I am thinking of running Give Me A Copper next in the Ultima Handicap Chase at Cheltenham before a crack at the Grand National which is a race I’ve always felt would be ideal for him. He’s nine now and though you could question his lack of experience over fences you couldn’t name any horse who jumped round Sandown better than him on Saturday. Sometimes it can be an advantage not having too much experience going to Aintree because they are not set in their ways.

Casko d’Airy will probably go back Novice hurdling after he finished fifth in the Heroes Handicap Hurdle. He ran into a bit of trouble and we will ride him handier next time.

With a positive weather forecast we have plenty to run this week, particularly at the weekend at Newbury where Clan Des Obeaux goes for the Denman Chase, Getaway Trump and Mont Des Avaloirs are both on course for the Betfair Hurdle and Ask For Glory and McFabulous take their chance in the bumper. In addition Quel Destin goes for the Listed Hurdle at Exeter on Sunday.

For the latest news on my weekend runners please turn to my Betfair column which goes live late on Friday afternoon.



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