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Paul Nicholls

Born: 17 April 1962

Nationality: British

First Winner as Trainer: Olveston (1991)

Cheltenham Gold Cup Wins: 4  

Notable Horses Trained: Call Equiname, See More Business, Flagship Uberalles, Cenkos, Azertyuiop, Kauto Star, Denman, Master Minded, Big Buck's, Neptune Collonges, Celestial Halo, What A Friend, Zarkandar

Career History

Growing up in South Gloucestershire Paul Nicholls wasn't born into racing like so many of the greats, but the son of a policeman had decided horse racing was what he wanted to be involved with and he quickly embarked on a career in the sport after he had left school.

After joining a point-to-point yard Nicholls quickly became an accomplished amateur jockey and turned conditional in 1982 being taken under the wings of Josh Gifford.  A move to David Barron's stables followed in 1984 and they had instant success together as Nicholls partnered Broadheath to glory in the 1986 Hennessy Gold Cup.

However, it was training that Nicholls would become famous for and after he retired from the saddle in 1989 following a bad injury, he took out a trainer's licence in 1991 at his current yard in Ditcheat.

Starting out initially with eight horses Nicholls' empire grew considerably over time and he managed to notch up his first Grade One success with See More Indians in the Feltham Novices' Chase at Kempton Park in 1993.

Throughout the 1990's Nicholls continued to storm up the training ranks and it was to be the 1999 Cheltenham Festival that really saw him hit the limelight.  Flagship Uberalles' win in the Arkle Chase was followed by Call Equiname's win in the Queen Mother Champion Chase and it was rounded off with a spectacular Grade One hat-trick as See More Business won the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

In the new Millennium Nicholls continued to succeed and was a regular winner at the major meetings, but the champion trainer title was an achievement missing from the CV.  HIs battles with legendary handler Martin Pipe for the award were a regular attraction of the national hunt game and it was finally in the 2005/2006 season that he finally surpassed Pipe to be crowned champion trainer.

As all this was happening a couple of horses would venture into his stable that would later on become legends of the sport.  Kauto Star and Denman were the pair and Nicholls talents aided by stable jockey Ruby Walsh propelled them to the top of the national hunt spectrum. 

Kauto Star won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2007 before Denman stormed to glory a year later before the Clive Smith-owned Kauto Star grabbed the title back in 2009 for an awesome hat-trick for the Ditcheat master.

Dual Champion Chase winner Master Minded has been another shining beacon in the stables, whilst newcomers such as 2011 Triumph Hurdle winner Zarkandar and Supreme Novice's winner Al Ferof are sure to keep Nicholls at the top of the national hunt scene.

Other Leading National Hunt Trainers

Nicky Henderson

Willie Mullins

Jonjo O'Neill

David Pipe