14 things you might not know about National Hunt trainer Paul Nicholls

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  • Find out everything you need to know about National Hunt trainer Paul Nicholls.

    1. Paul Nicholls, born on 17 April 1972, is a British National Hunt trainer based at Manor Farm, Ditcheat in Somerset.

    2. Nicholls left school at the age of 16 to work at a local point-to-point yard and in 1982 he became a conditional jockey under trainer Josh Gifford.

    3. In 1984 he joined David Barons as stable jockey and enjoyed some notable successes, including back-to-back wins in the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup at Newbury with Broadheath in 1986 and Playschool the following year.

    4. However, due to injury, he retired as a jockey in 1989 having ridden 133 winners over a seven-year career.

    5. He then served a two-year apprenticeship as assistant trainer to Barons before taking out his own trainer’s licence in 1991.

    6. Paul Nicholls began renting Manor Farm, Ditcheat from a local dairy farmer, Paul Barber, and had just eight horses in training to begin with.

    7. His first winner, Olveston, was owned by Nicholls’ father and named after the South Gloucestershire village where he grew up.

    8. His career developed steadily but the 1999 Cheltenham Festival, however, was to mark the start of Nicholls’ real success when he won the Queen Mother Champion Chase with Call Equiname, the Arkle Chase with Flagship Uberalles and the Cheltenham Gold Cup with See More Business.

    9. At the end of the 2005-2006 season Nicholls was crowned champion National Hunt trainer for the first time. He has now been crowned champion National Hunt trainer 11 times.

    10. Paul Nicholls trained his 50th Grade One winner in December 2008 when Master Minded — ridden by AP McCoy — won the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown.

    11. Irish jockey Ruby Walsh played a central role in Nicholls’ success, including winning the 2007 and 2009 Cheltenham Gold Cups for him aboard Kauto Star. Sam Thomas won the same race aboard Denman in 2008. After the 2020 Cheltenham Festival, he had racked up 45 Festival winners.

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    12. Kauto Star and Walsh won the King George VI Chase at Kempton a record five times (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011). Nicholls has more recently won this race with Silviniaco Conti (2013, 2014), Clan Des Obeaux (2018, 2019) and Frodon (2020).

    13. Nicholls won the Grand National in 2012 with veteran chaser Neptune Collonges ridden by Daryl Jacob.

    14. Paul is married to Georgie Brown and he has three daughters. His eldest daughter, Megan, from his second marriage is a professional Flat jockey.

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