In this years battle between the top trainers it’s Paul Nicholls’ stable that comes to the 2016 festival in better form than his main rival Nicky Henderson. Nicholls’ stables are based in Ditcheat, Somerset and he’s trained over 2000 winners from there. Nicholls’ is the leading trainer of national hunt horses of his generation including 4 Cheltenham gold cup winners and one grand national win (2012). Before starting as a trainer he was a relatively successful jockey in the 80s with 133 winners in a 7 year career before retiring due to a broken leg in 1989.
After completing two apprenticeship years as at Barons he took his first training license in 1991 setting up with just 8 horses. It was 1999 before he really made his mark on the Cheltenham festival where his horses won the Arkle, Queen mother champion chase and the Gold cup with “see more business”. His most successful horse of the festival is the legendary Kauto Star who won 5 Queen mother champion chases (06-09 & 11) alongside two gold cups (09 & 11). In the 2008 Gold cup Nicholls’ has the first three horses in the race. We preview a few of the top horses to watch this year.
Paul Nicholls’ horses
Dodging bullets is set to defend her win last year in the Champion Chase here in a tough field alongside popular bets Sprinter Sacre, Vautour, Un De Sceaux and Sire De Grugy. He’s currently trading at 12/1 making him the 4th favourite. Nicholls recently said. He wasn’t the favourite last year and won, can he do the same again this year?
Silviniaco Conti has been entered in to the World Hurdle, but is looking unlikely he will be participating this year. With Thistlecrack outright favourite here Nicholls may well leave him to rest ready for Aintree. Silviniaco Conti was out at 16/1 in this race, but has since been removed from the bookmaker’s cards.
One of Nicholls’ winners last year at Cheltenham festival, Qualando has been entered in to this years festival running. He hasn’t ran well or jumped great since that race but has proven he is not stirred by the big occasion, can react well when grouped tightly, is unfaded by a big field and can finish strongly.
Qualando has been entered in to the Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle and the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle where he is priced at 20/1 and 10/1 respectively.
Paul Nicholls’ stable other possible runners
Adrien Du Pont