Paul Nicholls: Cheltenham Festival Trainer Profile

Martin Green

Saturday, March 9, 2019 3:27 PM UTC

Saturday, Mar. 9, 2019 3:27 PM UTC

Nicholls is enjoying a magnificent season and he heads into the Cheltenham Festival with his strongest hand in years.

<p>Date of licence: 1991</p><p>Origin: Gloucestershire, but racing out of Ditcheat, Somerset</p><p>Record: 654 wins in 2,797 runs since 2014, with 598 places, and a win record of 23%</p><p>Cheltenham Festival wins: 43</p><p>Leading trainer at Cheltenham awards: 6</p><p>Years competing at Cheltenham Festival: 1999-present</p><p>Festival highlights: Won the Gold Cup four times, with See More Business in 1999, Kauto Star in 2007, Denman in 2008 and Kauto Star again in 2009</p><p>Associated jockeys: Harry Cobden, Sam Twiston-Davies and Sean Bowen</p><p>Significant horses: Kauto Star, Denman, Clan Des Obeaux, Big Buck’s, Politologue, Master Minded</p><p>Legendary trainer Paul Nicholls is enjoying a remarkable resurgence this year and he should head into the <a href="" target="_blank" title="Cheltenham Festival betting guide">Cheltenham Festival</a> full of confidence. The Ditcheat maestro has been named leading trainer at the meeting six times, but the last time he finished top of the pile was 2009. Since then, <a href="" target="_blank" title="Willie Mullins">Willie Mullins</a>, <a href="" target="_blank" title="Gordon Elliott">Gordon Elliott</a> and <a href="" target="_blank" title="Nicky Henderson">Nicky Henderson</a> have dominated and Nicholls has endured a difficult transitional period. Many may have written him off as a fading force, but the 10-time champion trainer has roared back to form this season.</p><p>He landed the 3,000<sup>th</sup> win of his career earlier this month and achieved a career best of eight victories that day at combined odds of more than 45,000/1. He now boasts a comfortable lead in the English championship and positivity abounds once more at his Somerset stables. He will now attempt to bring back the glory days, when he had Kauto Star, Denman, Big Buck’s and Master Minded dominating the Cheltenham Festival.</p><h2>Big hopes for Cheltenham</h2><p>He has a big hope in Clan Des Obeaux, who is among the favourites to win the <a href="" target="_blank" title="Gold Cup">Cheltenham Gold Cup</a>. The seven-year-old earned a thrilling victory over Thistlecrack and Native River to land the Grade 1 King George VI Chase on Boxing Day. He then picked up a comfortable victory in the Grade 2 Denman Chase last month and he is heavily fancied for this race. He is one of three horses vying for favouritism, alongside Presenting Percy and defending champion Native River. He is currently best priced at 9/2 (4.50) with <a href=";a=8e57de00-8c0e-4848-b6da-ea2a0f565fb1" target="_blank" title="888 Sport">888 Sport</a>.</p><p>Elsewhere, course specialist Frodon will battle for glory in the Ryanair Chase after four previous victories at Cheltenham. He looks a really interesting each-way bet in that race at 13/2 (7.50) with <a href=";a=8ec6399a-9df1-4c52-b272-39e6428836a6" target="_blank" title="Betfair">Betfair</a>. Grand Sancy, Give Me A Copper, Topofthegame, Friend Or Foe, Quel Destin and Magic Saint are among his other big hopes.</p><p>“It’s the most excited I’ve felt about a Cheltenham team for a few years,” said the 56-year-old. “It’s great to have a team led by a horse who is fancied for the Gold Cup. I’ve got a lot of nice horses with chances.”</p>
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