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About: Paul Nicholls Racing

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Stan’s brain scan surprises all at Ditcheat

“I look like I’m about to go out and rob a lawn mower,” quipped Stan (Sheppard) last Friday at Fontwell just as myself, Bryony and the ginger prince were about to walk the course.

We were dressed normally, but Stan sported a grey hoody; hood up I might add along with tracksuit bottoms as he was ready to go running after our walk. Never one to take life too seriously is Stan and I do not know why but that line really cracked me up. Ice creams in hand we set off for our walk, sweated freely for two laps of sweltering Fontwell, had a laugh, discussed plans for the day and our day progressed.
It continued in good fashion as well with Favorito Buck’s improving markedly for the step up to three miles plus and jumping on the whole very well with Bryony before our day came to a shuddering halt. Stan was having his first ride of the day on Rock On Oscar and having jumped four fences in a nice rhythm he faced up to the fifth misjudged it and Stan took a quite horrible fall. He slapped the ground and I immediately feared the worst as he received quite a kicking following the initial impact. I ran over to where he lay and as the doctors attended him it was clear Stan was not in a good way.

Relief all round as Stan given all clear

He was knocked out, but thank goodness everything else seemed fine and, when he gradually came round, the relief that ran through me when he could move everything and the doctors then relaxed was immense. It is a thoroughly unpleasant experience when one of your mates gets injured like that but, thank goodness he is ok and after a brain scan at Chichester Hospital, where much to our surprise they found one, he was allowed home.
Falls are of course part and parcel of a jockey’s job, but I will never like seeing them and every time our jocks walk away from one unscathed I am grateful. Stan has been incredibly sore these last few days but it could have been an awful lot worse and with rest he will be back in the saddle in no time.
It is a little weird really as my high and low light came in that day, the low being the fall and the high was picking Stan up from hospital later that day with a clean bill of health. Aside from Stan’s fall pretty much everything has been good this past week with lots of racing and most importantly some really good results.

Tommy masters Exeter foes

Eight winners was the end total, but you have to go right back to last Tuesday to find the most impressive equine performance from the week, a display that came from Master Tommytucker who despite over racing throughout the contest destroyed his rivals carrying a penalty in the rain softened Exeter ground. I have since watched the race back a number of times and still cannot believe just how hard he pulled and how well he kept going, throughout the day horses were simply not getting home, but he turned round the final bend and powered up the straight in the shape of a very smart horse.
Tommy is very much a chaser in the making and he is a wonderfully exciting horse to have in the yard for next season. Yes, he has a long way to go but it would surprise nobody here if he ended up being a chaser of the highest grade in time.
Away from the other equine highlights such as Brahms De Clermont racking up his fourth win of the season in gritty fashion, Secret Investor getting off the mark over hurdles and Diamond Guy putting in a speedy display at Wincanton the major satisfaction for me this past week has once again come from seeing the staff working so hard in the yard and being rewarded with the results.
Andrew went from Southwell to Bangor to Stratford, Scott took care of Fontwell while Kate Cheltenham to Ayr to Wincanton. These are all long days and, if everyone from the guys at home to the team at the races did not pull their weight, big weeks the like of which we have just enjoyed could not happen.

Valiant Vicente a hero again

Achieving things that have never been done before is incredibly difficult but with Vicente that is exactly what we tried to do in the Scottish National and, although coming up short, he finished a gallant fifth giving his all in a race he loves. He once again did Julie who rides and looks after him everyday proud and lost nothing in defeat.

Looking ahead to this week and I know it will be another busy one, but I cannot help but be a little gutted the season it is all coming to an end once more. Of course it has to and we will start again almost immediately, but I am so proud of the work we have done this week. It is sad when it all goes back to zero and we start again. For now though and during this week we will focus on trying to further Paul’s tally of 126 winners so far this season and hope we can finish another successful term in good fashion.
Have a good week.


April 23, 2018

With seven winners over the last three days the horses are in great form as we head into the final week of the season.

It is no coincidence that they are running so well now that the ground is starting to dry up after such a difficult and prolonged wet winter.
Most of ours struggled with the testing conditions, they much prefer better ground so we expect to be busy over the next month with plenty to run while the going is in their favour.
Several of ours ran well at Ayr over the two days but Vicente came up short in his bid to land the Scottish Grand National for the third successive year.With the sun shining and the ground perfect I was hopeful about his chances and he was hardly disgraced in finishing fifth.
But his jumping wasn’t foot perfect and a mistake at the fourth last put him on the back foot just as he was easing stylishly into the race.

We moved on to a score of 126 winners for the season on Sunday and I’ve set my sights on reaching 130 by Saturday night.
We will have plenty of runners through the week and have some interesting entries at Sandown on Saturday.

Act of Valour and Mont Des Avaloirs go for the £100,000 Novice Handicap Hurdle Final, Alcala and Art Mauresque are pencilled in for the bet365 Oaksey Chase, while Diego De Charmil and San Benedeto are possibles in the Celebration Chase. In addition Present Man is under consideration for the bet365 Gold Cup.

After all the winners of the last couple of weeks I am now on a career total of 2900 National Hunt winners with only 100 to go before the magical total of 3000!

For all the latest news on my Saturday runners please be sure to read my Betfair column once it goes live late on Friday afternoon


April 9, 2018

It was good to strike with a winner Act of Valour on Saturday after another frustrating week of lost meetings on the turf.

He seemed to appreciate the better ground at Fakenham and is now qualified for a £100,000 Novice Handicap Final on the last day of the season at Sandown.

All roads lead to Aintree this week. Unfortunately the ground there is already soft so our running plans will depend on how much more rain falls at the track over the next few days. We will confirm Vicente and Warriors Tale on Monday for the Grand National. Both schooled really well over some practice Aintree fences at David Pipe’s on Sunday along with Monsieur Gibraltar who runs in the Foxhunters’ for Rose Loxton. We will make a decision about Vicente’s participation ahead of declaration time on Thursday. If we consider conditions are too soft for him then we will keep him back for his hat-trick bid in the Scottish National at Ayr the following Saturday.

One who definitely appears at Liverpool is Politologue who goes for the JLT Melling Chase on Friday. The way he has been running I’d say he is crying out for the step up in trip to two and a half miles on a flat track.
Black Corton, Posh Trish, Danny Kirwan and Malaya are all set to appear at Aintree along with Unioniste and Wonderful Charm who go in the Foxhunters’.
Several others could also be on the team sheet depending on ground conditions.

For all the latest news on my runners at the Grand National meeting please turn to my Betfair column early each evening on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.



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