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About: Paul Nicholls Racing

Recent Posts by Paul Nicholls Racing

First double on the Flat

I was thrilled to have my first double on the flat on Wednesday at Pontefract and it felt even better that both horses were very well ridden by my daughter Megan who is top value for her three pounds claim.

I’ve hardly ever had two runners on the flat on the same afternoon so this double was certainly a red letter day for the family. First Megan struck late in the staying handicap on Oleg who kept on stoutly to snatch the verdict in the final strides.

She again played her cards late on Christopher Wood who finished strongly in the twelve furlong handicap to beat Monsieur Lambrays in another tight finish.

I thought that both horses looked fabulous when I walked round the yard on Tuesday afternoon. They were definitely fit despite not having run in the past three months and their coats were gleaming. They were our first winners from Ditcheat since we enjoyed a treble on Saturday, March 14 when Truckers Lodge deservedly stole the headlines with a great success in the Midlands Grand National and Mcfabulous winning the EBF final at Kempton. Two days later all sport was cancelled as part of the lock down that has paralysed much of the country.

Currently we have a team of 20 summer jumpers ticking over nicely ahead of the return to action scheduled on July 1st. Plus a squad of a dozen or so for the flat. I’ve entered four for a new staying handicap at Royal Ascot on Tuesday while Red Force One and possibly Christopher Wood could both run in the one mile, six furlong handicap on Thursday.

Oleg, meanwhile, has improved no end this year and is on course for Glorious Goodwood.

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Team Ditcheat Vacancies

1st May 2020

Every year we recruit new staff to start the season with us in July and despite the uncertainty at the current time due to the Coronavirus, we are still keen to hear from anyone who would be interested in joining our team.

We have vacancies for Full time staff.

This is a chance to enjoy riding and looking after top class horses. Applicants must ride well and be capable of all stable duties and will also have the chance to attend race meetings. Previous experience in the racing industry is preferred however we also welcome applications from those with backgrounds in other equestrian disciplines.

We can offer regular hours, good single accommodation if required plus excellent wages and bonuses.

For those who are interested there is opportunity to study for Level 3 Diploma in Racehorse Care and Management for the right candidates (see www.brs.org.uk/courses/advanced-apprenticeship-level-3-diploma/ for more details)

We also have vacancies for part time riders and weekend help so if you have the necessary experience to help exercise or look after our horses please get in touch!

Please email info@paulnichollsracing.com to apply or for more information.

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It was probably the right call

I am feeling a bit lost at the moment following the cancellation of all racing in this country until the end of April because of the rapid spread of the coronavirus.

One minute we were full on after Cheltenham with a double the following weekend, the horses were in top form and there was lots of planning for the final six weeks of the season with meetings such as Aintree, Ayr, Cheltenham, Perth and Sandown. Then the sky fell in.

It was probably the right call by the BHA to call a halt to racing given the very real threat to life. Whichever way you look at it the situation is scary not just for racing but for everyone with so much uncertainty about the future.

My immediate concern is for the welfare of our hard working staff, all 55 of them who make up Team Ditcheat. I’ve assured my owners that I’m not going to lay anyone off while we continue to look after upwards of 150 horses who will remain with us until they can go off on their summer break out to grass at the start of May.

One or two people have suggested we should be turning them out now but it is far too early to be doing that. They are not cars that can be switched off with the turn of a key.

The paddocks are very wet and need to be fertilised and rolled so that there is enough grass grown for the eight weeks’ the horse are out.

We will take our time to rough the horses off properly over a period of weeks as we do every year, so until the end of April we will be keeping things ticking over in a familiar routine with all the horses continuing to be exercised, fed and looked after.

When the time comes they can then go out to grass on their holidays and my view has always been that if you turn them out looking well then they stay looking well.

While the mood in these challenging times is downbeat at the moment it was good to see Topofthegame being ridden out every morning last week for light exercise after the leg injury in September that forced him to miss the rest of the season. He looks great and is such a big horse that the enforced break might have been a blessing in disguise.

Topofthegame will be doing routine roadwork for another three weeks and then start cantering for a fortnight. After that we will turn him out before bringing him back into training again early in July.

Over the past week we’ve also been doing lots of schooling with the young horses who are going hurdling next season which we will continue to do.

I’m trying to stay positive and have a team of twenty who would be suitable for summer jumping if it happens.

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