Paul Nicholls

It was in October 1991, that Paul Nicholls arrived at Manor Farm Stables with eight horses, a bucketful of dreams and an unshakeable belief that he would be successful.

Fast forward to 2020 and Nicholls has dominated his sport for much of the past twenty years. Statistics alone tell only half the story. What they cannot fully show is his God given talent, his boundless enthusiasm every day he steps into the yard and his uncanny skill at keeping the same horses in a rich vein of form year on year. No one does it better.

A glance at past results suggest he has good reason to anticipate another rewarding season when things finally return to normal. The statistics are compelling.

As the winners began to flow Paul worked hard to upgrade things year on year, adding better gallops, improving facilities and building more boxes until they are now able to accommodate 150 horses in training at any one time.

Paul has been lucky enough to train some great horses including See More Business, Kauto Star, Denman, Master Minded, Neptune Collonges, Tidal Bay, Silviniaco Conti and Big Buck’s. They and many more have contributed to Paul winning 11 trainers’ championships over the last 14 years.

Paul Nicholls has been champion trainer eleven times, has trained upwards of 3,100 winners, 125 of them at Grade 1 level, and has won many of the races that matter most in the calendar including four Gold Cups, a Grand National, ten Tingle Creeks and the King George V1 Chase an astonishing eleven times.

He has maintained a strike rate of 20% or more for the past 25 years and passed the £2 million mark in prize money for the 18th consecutive time in March.

Early in October Nicholls will celebrate his 29th year as a racehorse trainer at Ditcheat. He began in racing as an eager rider in point-to-points, before progressing to ride over 100 winners over jumps in a career limited by a constant battle with the scales.

Then there is his almost tangible will to win which encourages those who work with him to strive for success every bit as hard as he does.

That was never more evident than in April, 2016 when Nicholls delivered a conveyor belt of winners in the final weeks of the season to retain his title just as it seemed the crown was about to on its way to Willie Mullins in Ireland.

Nicholls’ immediate reaction on the final day of the season was to emphasise that this success was entirely down to Team Ditcheat. But he is the driver and given that Willie Mullins delivered 14 Grade 1 winners to his two, Nicholls is surely entitled to believe that his 10th championship was his finest hour.

More recently Nicky Henderson has proved to be a formidable rival and it was entirely fitting that both men were awarded the OBE last year for their services to racing.

Paul Nicholls has enjoyed so many highlights in a glittering career and you could almost reach out and touch the pride on his face as he played host to the Queen during a visit that brought Ditcheat to a halt late in March 2019.

She chatted to his family, key members of the team and Paul and Marianne Barber and clearly enjoyed inspecting at close quarters some of his stable stars that helped deliver his eleventh trainers’ championship.

More recently a frustrating conclusion to the 2019-2020 season left him wondering what might have been.

Restlessly energetic, he is already focusing on the challenges ahead, plotting and planning for the future, seeking to enhance his excellent facilities and enthusing about the prospects of his latest group of young horses coming through the system.

horses trained by Paul Nicholls
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