Paul Nicholls sets his sights on a fifth Cheltenham Gold Cup win
PUBLISHED: 15:44 17 January 2019 | UPDATED: 16:45 17 January 2019
We may have racecourses in Wincanton, Taunton and Bath, but when it comes to demonstrating horse racing on a larger scale, Paul Nicholls has been a shining example of what Somerset has to offer.
Many would recognise Cheltenham Festival as the most prestigious horse racing festival where people like Paul Nicholls have been able to show their quality.
Paul Nicholls has a more than exceptional record in past Cheltenham Festivals with 43 wins, ranking as the third most successful of all time behind Willie Mullins and Nicky Henderson.
Paul Nicholls has found success both as a jockey and a trainer
Starting out his racing career as a jockey, Paul Nicholls was certain to push on for success, where he achieved more than 130 wins in National Hunt races, then working under David Barons for two years at entry-level before applying for his training license and winning the battle to rent out Manor Farm Stables from a local dairy farmer.
Before he set foot in Manor Farm Stables, Paul Nicholls had already won over 100 races, but since improving the facilities he now boasts 736 wins from 3,266 entries.
Paul Nicholls has experience in The Gold Cup
Paul is one of many decorated professional horse trainers to put a lot of his energy into dominating the four-day racing event. The wins at Cheltenham are enough to prove his worth as a trainer, but it’s the four Gold Cup (See More Business in 1999, Kauto Star in 2007 and 2009 and Denman in 2008) wins have shown another level to his ability.
At this moment in time, Paul Nicholls has 22 possible entries at Cheltenham Festival, with four of those horses being potential candidates for The Gold Cup. It’s assumed that Nicholls will opt to run Clan Des Obeaux in The Gold Cup. With hopes of accurately gauging the opinions of the fans, The Winners Enclosure asked their followers who they expect to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Clan Des Obeaux finished the poll in last place of the four.
The Winners Enclosure continued to question their followers, turning to another of Paul Nicholls’ horses. Once again, Twitter users didn’t see much hope, as last year’s Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle runner-up Topofthegame only achieved 13% of the vote for the winner of The JLT Novices Chase.
Philip Hobbs is another example of Somerset’s contribution to horse racing at this year’s Cheltenham Festival
Philip Hobbs is an interesting alternative from Sandhill Racing Stables in the Minehead area. Going under the radar, he has fifteen possible entries at Cheltenham Festival, with some fans regarding him as one to watch this year.
Past wins saw Flagship Uberalles win the 2002 Queen Mother Champion Chase, Rooster Booster win the 2003 Champion Hurdle, Detroit City win the 2006 Triumph Hurdle, and Massini’s Maguire win the 2007 Ballymore Properties Novices’ Hurdle. There are several horses to keep track of at this year’s festival, but the most hype has surrounded Defi Du Sueil, who has been entered into The Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices’ Chase and The JLT Novices’ Chase. With it being assumed that he stands more chance of running in The Arkle Chase, The Winners Enclosure once again asked their followers who they’ll be putting faith into this year.
Despite being priced as the fourth favourite, fans of The Winners Enclosure put Defi Du Seuil as the horse most likely to win, taking 108 votes from 310. It might not be quite as coveted as The Gold Cup, but if Paul Nicholls is only as good as these horse racing fans have envisaged, it could be down to Philip Hobbs’ entry into The Arkle Chase to save the day and bring some pride back to Somerset.