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About: Paul Nicholls Racing

Recent Posts by Paul Nicholls Racing

Monday 26th February

An excellent double at Kempton on Saturday advertised the good form of our team as we enter the final two months of the season.

Kalif du Berlais was the first to strike with a determined success in the Grade 2 Adonis Hurdle. He’s a horse with a big future and maintained his unbeaten record by defying a 5lbs penalty with a determined finishing run as he saw off Givemefive in a tight finish. He had a hard enough race and will not be going to Cheltenham for the Triumph Hurdle. If he does run again this season it will be in the juvenile hurdle at Aintree though I wouldn’t lose any sleep if we decided to put him away for next season. He stays strong and is a galloper so Kempton doesn’t really play to his strengths. We need to mind him for next season when he will probably have one run over hurdles before switching to fences. He is certainly one off the nicest prospects we have had to go chasing for a long time.
Golden Son had some questions to answer after failing to finish on his last two starts. But to be fair the ground was virtually unraceable at Liverpool on the first occasion and then Harry Cobden pulled him up at Newbury because he thought he had knocked himself. But afterwards he was fine. So it was good to see him bounce back in first time cheek pieces with a welcome success in a Class 2 handicap Chase over two and a half miles. Hopefully he can continue to progress while conditions are in his favour and he could return to Kempton in three week’s time.
The Grade 2 Pendil Novice Chase is a race I love to target and it looked for a moment that Tahmuras would give me a fourteenth success in it until he was just outfought by Blow Your Wad on the run-in. While he isn’t entirely straightforward he is going to win a decent prize one day when he gets the strong pace that he needs to bring out the best in him. He could be one for the Paddy Power at Cheltenham next season.
Testing conditions at racecourses around the country are far from ideal for quite a few of ours who would prefer much drier ground. Meanwhile we continue to be busy at home schooling horses in our outdoor arena. Bravemansgame looked in top condition when Harry Cobden popped him over some fences in the midweek and our recent recruit Caldwell Potter was another to please Harry. He has settled in very well at his new home, enjoys his work and could make his debut for us in the Grade 1 Turners Mersey Novice Hurdle over two and a half miles at Aintree on Grand National day.
This weekend we will have runners at Kelso, Newbury and maybe at Doncaster if the ground dries up. Flash Collonges has been waiting for some time for the good ground he needs and might head to Doncaster as a prep for the Scottish Grand National. Sans Bruit is under consideration for the £50,000 Premier Hurdle at Kelso and Kandoo Kid is on course for the Greatwood Gold Cup at Newbury.
For all the latest news on my runners on Saturday please be sure to check out my Betfair column which goes live early on Friday.

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Monday 19th February

A sparkling double at Ascot on Saturday took the prize money won by our horses this season soaring past £2 million.

The victories of Pic D’Orhy and Threeunderthrufive provided a much needed tonic for Team Ditcheat after the heart-breaking events a fortnight ago.
While both horses were outstanding at Ascot they did have the advantage of a jockey riding with great confidence as he edged ahead of Sean Bowen in their absorbing duel for the championship. You can be sure I will be doing everything I can to help Harry gain his first title. He stole half a dozen lengths advantage on Pic D’Orhy at the start of the Grade 1 Betfair Ascot Chase and the others were never going to catch up after that.
We were always going to be positive. Harry knows the horse so well and I didn’t need to be telling him what to do. Pic D’Orhy looked as well as I’ve ever seen him, got into a lovely rhythm and sailed home unchallenged. He was so dominant I think he would have won however he was ridden. He was awesome on Saturday and will now head to Aintree in a bid to win the Grade 1 Marsh Chase for the second year running.
The way Pic D’Orhy kept on strongly at the finish at Ascot has me already looking ahead to possibly running him in the King George V1 Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.
Threeunderthrufive has bounced back nicely from an underwhelming season last winter. Since a wind op in the summer, he has been seeing his races out better and defied top weight of 12 stone with a tidy victory in the Swinley Handicap Chase. He was always among the leaders and galloped on for a well deserved success to the delight of the McNeill family who are such enthusiastic owners. All the talk afterwards was about him going to Aintree but nothing is decided yet and the Scottish Grand National and the bet365 Gold Cup are also under consideration for him.
At Wincanton it was good to see Onethreefivenotout gain his first success over hurdles ridden by my former stable jockey Daryl Jacob. I’ll be doing my best to help Daryl succeed in his quest to ride the dozen or so winners he needs to reach a career total of 1,000 winners.
The ground is really testing just about everywhere after another monsoon which is not ideal for a fair few of our horses. But I run Lalor and a new recruit Golden Move at Taunton on Tuesday and plan to take a strong team to Kempton on Saturday.
Kalif Du Berlais is pencilled in for the Adonis, Panjari goes for the Dovecote and the valuable Coral Handicap Chase has been the target for Solo for some time. In addition we can choose between Tahmuras or Golden Son in the Pendil.
On Sunday the plan is to send either Blueking d’Oroux or Sonigino to Fontwell for the National Spirit Hurdle.
For all the latest news on all my runners on both days please turn to my Betfair column which goes live the previous morning.

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Monday 12th February

Winners seemed totally insignificant when the I heard the heart breaking news that Keagan Kirby had died after a fall in a Point-to-Point in Kent eight days ago.

It happened when the horse he was riding ran out through the wing of a fence on the second circuit at Charing and tragically he could not be saved. There have been a lot of tears shed by Team Ditcheat since then because he was a lovely lad, one of our best work riders, and had made huge progress since joining us in the summer of 2019. Only 25 he was deservedly shortlisted for the Thoroughbred Employee awards this year.
Keagan was passionate about his riding and his job, was hugely popular in the yard and all of our staff have been in bits since it happened. You wouldn’t believe the messages of support we’ve received, the flowers, and the letters. Through it all we’ve had to keep going running a business, feeding and exercising the horses. I know Keagan would not have wanted things to be done any differently.
We all found things unbelievably hard in the days that followed his death and I salute the way everyone has rallied round. The whole team has done Keagan proud.
The loss of the highly talented Hermes Allen 24 hours earlier in a fall at Sandown was another shocking blow. He had already achieved much and had a big future. Now it’s a question of re-grouping and looking ahead for the rest of the season.
It looks like I’ve got a fight on my hands to retain my title as champion trainer. Naturally I will give it my best shot but my main focus is helping Harry Cobden become champion jockey for the first time. He is riding at the top of his game, has been steadily cutting into Sean Bowen’s big lead over the last couple of months and finally drew level with Sean on 121 winners on Sunday thanks to the impressive success of Teeshan in the bumper at Exeter on Sunday.
Teeshan is a lovely prospect, will have an entry in the Cheltenham bumper and I’d say is on a par with Joyau Allen and Quebecois who have also won for us at Exeter this season.
We have had Teeshan for a while but it has taken until now for him to acclimatise and come right .
That explains my point about not taking our exciting new arrival Caldwell Potter to Cheltenham next month. It’s impossible for a horse to acclimatise into a new system that quickly and I am already looking ahead to running him in novice chases next October. He is a horse for the future and was bought at the sales early last week by several of the partners in Hermes Allen. They are good sports, love their racing and I knew they would have a good go at trying to get him.
We will again be busy on Saturday with runners at Ascot, Wincanton and Haydock.
Brave Kingdom is on course for the Reynoldstown Chase at Ascot where Pic D’Orhy runs in the Betfair Ascot Chase and Threeunderthrufive goes for a £100,000 Premier Handicap Chase.
Rubaud is an intended starter in the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton where we could have half a dozen through the afternoon.
For all the latest news on all my runners on Saturday please be sure to read my Betfair column which goes live the previous morning.

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