Paul Nicholls – Trainer In Focus

Posted February 23, 2016

By Tim @ Betting Gods

Paul Nicholls has been crowned National Hunt Champion Trainer in 9 of of the last 10 seasons. He’s won 37 races at the Cheltenham Festival since his first winner in 1999, including 4 Gold Cups, 5 Champion Chases, 4 World Hurdles, a Champion Hurdle, and a Ryan Air Chase. Yet, this year, mainly due to the poor form of the stable up until recently, and somewhat to the ever-increasing dominance of Willie Mullins – his horses are being largely overlooked for this year’s races at the Cheltenham Festival.

Paul Nicholls

However, as he’s trained at least one winner at each Festival since 2003, registering 2 wins or more on all but 3 occasions, and with a best tally of 5 wins, it could be time to take an interest in some of his big hopes with the Festival just 3 weeks away.

Old Guard 25/1 (Champion Hurdle)

The defection of Faugheen has potentially opened the door for an improving animal to throw his hat into the ring to be crowned champion Hurdler – and Old Guard could fit that bill. He’s already registered 3 wins at the course this season, starting with a handicap win off 137, then taking the Greatwood off 145, before beating some decent yardsticks in the International on ground deemed to soft for him. Cut to 16/1 after that win, he then doubled in price after flopping at Kempton over Christmas. However, with his stable back in form, and back at Cheltenham he could go well each-way at a working man’s price.

Vicente 20/1 (National Hunt Chase)

The 4-miler at Cheltenham is one that’s not currently on the Champion Trainer’s CV, but he looks to have an ideal candidate in the shape of Vicente. Also a hurdles winner at Cheltenham, he looked all about stamina when staying on to win a novice chase here, and wasn’t disgraced when trying to give weight to Blaklion and Onenightinvienna next time out here when the stable was in poor form.

Vibrato Valtat 14/1 (Ryan Air Chase)

Has thrown his hat into the ring against all the best 2-milers around this season but, despite performing admirably, has always looked like they were going a stride too fast for him. His stamina isn’t guaranteed for the extra five-furlongs of the Ryan Air but, Nicholls expects it to suit his charge, and this could be a race that cuts-up badly nearer the time.

Saphir Du Rheu 16/1 (World Hurdle)

Last year’s World hurdle runner-up was by no means disgraced when only fifth in the Hennessey when trying to concede between 8 and 24lb to the horses that finished in front of him. His price reflects a poor run over hurdles at Ascot since, again when the stable was under a cloud, and it would be no surprise if he were to at least place again in this year’s World Hurdle.

Published Under: UK Horse Racing /

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  1. Avatar

    Good Luck with the above, however I would look very close at the 5 day entries before going in on any of his horses, IMO I do believe his 4 year olds are very strong, I will be following whatever he runs in the JCB Triumph, owing to the Mullins brigade you may get some outstanding value from the PN yard for this race.

  2. Avatar

    ZUBAYR, bolts up at Kempton on debut, yet another 4 year old winner. 9/1, ….6/1 now for the Triumph. Zarkander won the same race on debut. PN rates this one, but he some ammunition in the 4 year old department, you have to back them blind at the moment.


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