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About: Paul Nicholls Racing

Recent Posts by Paul Nicholls Racing

Monday 30th January

A treble on Trials day at Cheltenham on Saturday took the prize money won by our horses this season well past the £2 million mark.

We always aim to try to reach that landmark by the start of the Cheltenham Festival. To do it before the end of January could well be a first for the yard.
This month has certainly been a highly rewarding for Team Ditcheat despite freezing conditions playing havoc with the fixture list. The great thing is that the horses continue to be healthy and are maintaining an impressive strike rate of 30%.
Stage Star was the first to strike on Saturday in the Timeform Novice Handicap Chase under top weight.
He made virtually all the running, jumping for fun and readily drew clear on the final hill. A handicap mark of 142 was a fair rating if he put it altogether and I was thrilled with the manner of his victory which has put him right in the mix for both novice chases at the Festival. He will also have an entry in one of the handicaps.
Il Ridoto, in first time cheek pieces, then dominated the valuable Paddy Power Handicap Chase from the front with a breathtaking round of jumping before seeing off the stern challenge of Fugitif on the flat.
I was sure he had been kidding us this season because he was coming out of his races too well. Positive tactics with the cheek pieces thst focused his mind made a big difference as he travelled really well the whole way and galloped all the way to the line with a great ride from Harry Cobden.
The idea is to freshen him up before the two miles, five furlong handicap Plate Handicap Chase at the Festival then maybe take him to Aintree for something like the Topham.
Bryony Frost felt that Frodon hated the ground in the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham. His handicap mark needs to come down a few pounds and I am toying with giving him an entry in the bet365 Chase at Sandown in the final day of the season when ground conditions will be in his favour.
My plan to run Gelino Bello back over hurdles to build up his confidence backfired when he made a bad mistake in the Cleeve Hurdle that put him out of the race. I’m not sure what comes next for Gelino Bello but wouldn’t entirely rule out a speedy return to action in the three mile handicap hurdle at Sandown this Saturday.
Hacker Des Places brought up the hat-trick for Team Ditcheat with a gutsy victory in the closing handicap hurdle. While he got to the front a tad sooner than ideal I loved the way he pulled out more on the run in to see off the persistent challenge of Might I.
Hacker Des Places surprised me a bit and the way he travels now he will be suited by a better pace in a stronger race. He runs next in the Betfair Hurdle in a fortnight.
We began Saturday on a downbeat note with Dixon Cove sustaining what I fear is a career ending tendon injury when finishing third in the Grade 2 Juvenile Hurdle. She all but severed a tendon when she struck into herself .
Dixon Cove was taken straight off to the veterinary hospital and had surgery on Sunday. She will be unlikely to race again but hopefully she can enjoy life as a brood mare.
We were out of luck at Doncaster where Stay Away Fay and Go West finished second in their races. Stay Away Fay could have done with more daylight on the way round but there was plenty of promise in the way he kept on well behind a more experienced rival. He is a good horse, ran well, and with a clearer run he would probably have won.
We will have plenty of entries in the days ahead before we send decent teams to Sandown and Musselburgh on Saturday and again to Musselburgh on Sunday.
For the latest news on my Saturday runners do please turn to my Betfair column which goes live early on Friday afternoon.

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Monday 23rd January

It turns out that a week of freezing temperatures at home meant I hardly missed any racing during a short winter break in Antigua.

The horses look in great shape and now that they have all had their mid winter flu vaccinations I can’t wait to see them kick on by trying to maintain our pleasing strike rate for the rest of the season.
They will be doing plenty of schooling and hard work this week as we start tuning them up for the challenges ahead.
With the weather set to improve we should be busy at the weekend with plenty of entries at Doncaster and Cheltenham.
The plan is for Dixon Cove to run in the £40,000 Sky Bet Fillies Juvenile Hurdle at Doncaster on Friday.
I will have a number of entries at Cheltenham on Saturday with Frodon on course for the Cotswold Chase, which he won in 2019, while Il Ridoto is a likely runner in the Paddy Power Handicap Chase. On the same card the impressive Taunton winner Afadil is a possible in the Juvenile Hurdle.
In addition I’m switching Gelino Bello back to hurdles in the Cleeve Hurdle, and am aiming Henri The Second at the Ballymore Novice Hurdle although Stayaway Fay will have an entry in that race and the River Don at Doncaster.
Also at Doncaster Simply The Betts is under consideration for the £100,000 Sky Bet Handicap Chase.
For the latest news on my Saturday runners please do check out my Betfair column which goes live early on Friday afternoon.

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Monday 16th January

Pic D’Orhy’s thumping victory at Kempton on Saturday was the highlight of a week which began with four winners on Monday at Taunton that brought up our century of winners for the twenty first season .

We were hoping to reach that milestone by the end of 2022 until racing was frozen off for ten days shortly before Christmas.
It’s encouraging that horses remain in top form with a strike rate of 30% and have already earned close on £2 million for their owners and not sure we have ever done that before 1st febuary .
Pic D’Orhy is one of many to shine this season. He has loads of ability, continues to improve, and brought up his hat-trick for the campaign by dominating the Grade 2 Silviniaco Conti Chase from start to finish.
While I was a bit worried about the testing conditions for him at Kempton, it is not a stiff track and his jumping was brilliant as he bolted in by fifteen lengths. He will go next for the Grade 2 Betfair Ascot Chase on February 18.
Red Risk ran a blinder too, in the Lanzarote Hurdle before being chinned on the line by West Balboa in a tight finish. He was given a great ride by our talented and ever improving young conditional Freddie Gingell.
Harry Cobden reported that Outlaw Peter hated the ground at Kempton which saw only four horses finish in the Lanzarote. We will keep him fresh for further targets in the spring.
Two more of our runners finished second on Saturday and would probably have preferred drier ground conditions with Makin’yourmindup narrowly failing to bring up a hat-trick over hurdles at Kempton.
At Warwick Complete Unknown didn’t quite stay three miles in the Grade 2 Novice Chase and will drop back in trip next time while Knowsley Road was far from disgraced in finishing third in the Grade 2 Ballymore Novice Hurdle.
Threeunderthrufive travelled and jumped well for a long way in the marathon Classic Chase but he was giving weight all round and twelve stone on his back began to tell after jumping the second last. He is likely to go for the Ultima Handicap Chase at Cheltenham which is sponsored by his owners. Further ahead he could have a crack at the Scottish Grand National or the bet365 Gold Cup.
We won with some nice young prospects at Taunton on Monday including the four year olds Afadil and Rare Middleton who will both have an entry in the Triumph Hurdle. Afadil enjoys soft ground and could go for the Victor Ludorum Hurdle at Haydock on February 18 and Rare Middleton probably heads to Kempton for the Adonis Hurdle seven days later. Iliko D’Olivate looks nice a nice prospect and might go for the listed novice hurdle at Exeter feb 12th .
We will have some interesting entries this coming weekend at Haydock, Taunton and Ascot. Frodon goes for Taunton’s biggest race of the year the Portman Cup which we have won for the past three years with Yala Enki, and Stage Star is on course for the Grade 2 Novice Chase at Haydock and Toothless for the grade 2 novices hurdle .
For the latest news on my runners on Saturday please do turn to my Betfair column which goes live the previous afternoon.

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