‘It’s amazing’: daughter of champion trainer successfully embarks on her own training career

  • Young star Olive Nicholls scored an impressive double, as well as her first win as a trainer, at Hursely Hambledon point-to-point at Larkhill in Wiltshire last weekend (26 November).

    Olive, 17, kicked off her day with a neat victory in the ladies’ open, riding her champion trainer father Paul Nicholls’, and John Bolton’s Viroflay, a horse she now trains herself, having previously been in the care of her mother Georgina Nicholls.

    “My long-term aim is to train horses under Rules, so to get my first winner as a trainer is amazing,” says Olive, who was the 2022 novice ladies’ jockey point-to-point champion.

    The move to training has come about after Georgina, who previously trained Olive’s pointers, took out her licence to train under Rules in the summer.

    “So the timing made sense and I now look after all of the pre-trainers that come in, plus the pointers,” explains Olive, who is based at her mother’s yard in Oxfordshire.

    “I’m very lucky to have great support around me. Mum is still a huge part of making everything work, but it was great to have her leading me up at the weekend!” laughs Olive.

    Viroflay, who is a six-year-old by Air Chief Marshal, has made an impressive return to the track after recovering from a leg injury, and he exceeded expectations when winning at the weekend.

    “I wasn’t sure he’d be quite fit enough,” says Olive. “He doesn’t do a great deal at home and it’s hard to have them bang on the money first time out. He’s not straightforward, and I thought he’d take a while to settle and chill into his racing. Last weekend was all about seeing where we were at, but he now marks my first runner and first winner as a trainer.

    “Viroflay is very special to me and my ultimate dream for him this year would be to take him to the Aintree Foxhunters,” explains Olive Nicholls, who’s second victory arrived in the conditions (level two) nine-year-old and up when Sam Loxton sent her out on her father’s 13-year-old Shantou Flyer.

    “We have a really great partnership and I’m very confident in him,” adds Olive. “But again, he’s one I thought would need a run before winning. He’s 13 now and still loves it. From the moment he arrived here today, I knew he wasn’t going to be beaten; he was like a three-year-old.”

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