Despite a soggy end to the week at Sandown on Sunday, two winners before the meeting was abandoned after three races, saw Paul Nicholls accrue thirteen winners in just seven days. The twelve time Champion Trainer is just three titles away from matching Martin Pipe’s record of fifteen.
An excellent week for Nicholls got off to a slow start on Monday, but victory for Stage Star in the Stan Mellor Memorial Novices’ Chase at Warwick on Tuesday hinted at better things to come for the Manor Farm Stables stalwart.
A treble at Chepstow followed on Wednesday for both trainer and jockey, Harry Cobden. Thamuras made all to win by 8 lengths in the 1.52 ‘National Hunt’ Maiden Hurdle to get his season off to a great start after a 237 day break. Another of Nicholls’ 5-year-olds made a winning return to the track in the 2.22 Maiden Hurdle (Class 4) as Knowsley Road stayed on to hold off the challenge of Goshhowposh, eventually winning by the margin of 1 1/4 lengths. A fine day got even better when Isaac Des Obeaux fought off Range to win the last, an open National Hunt Flat race for Class 5 horses.
Thursday, at Newbury, yielded another win, in what ended up to be a match race between Nicholls’ Huelgoat and Adam West’s Zyon. Harry Cobden guided his mount to the front at the 9th fence from where, baring a fall, the result was never in doubt.
Another treble at Exeter on Friday, including an impressive Grade 2 win for Greanateen in the Haldon Gold Cup, ensured that Nicholls would be in a position to head into the weekend with a chance to get into double figures for winners.
Any doubt that this would happen evaporated when Don Alvaro triumphed in the 3.35 at Wincanton on Saturday to cap off a four-timer. Angus Cheleda did a great job to guide the joint favourite to a comfortable 15 length win.
Before the Sandown meeting was abandoned due to safety concerns on Sunday, Nicholls added a further 2 winners to his impressive tally for the week. On heavy ground, Solo bounded clear to win the Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase (Class 3) to round off an excellent week for the Champion Trainer.
“It’s been an amazing fortnight,” said the delighted Nicholls as he sailed past 50 winners for the season.
“The horses look bigger and stronger. They look better this year than they have for a long time and they’re running better.”
Nicholls currently leads the 2022/23 table with 51 wins and 73 places, amassing £819,781 in prize money. Nicholls’ closest rival is Fergal O’Brien, who has won £737,578.