In the last fifteen years, the Jumps season in England has been dominated by Paul Nicholls and Nicky Henderson.
Paul Nicholls - based in Somerset is a ten-time Champion Trainer, whereas Nicky Henderson - based at Seven Burrows, has won the elusive prize just three times. However, it's the latter acquiring all the headlines of late, with many favouring Henderson as the favourite for this season's Championship, and in fact the better trainer. Why?
In recent years, it's fair to say that Paul Nicholls has not been graced with the horses he once had such as Kauto Star and Denman. He has good, talented horses in his yard, that possess strong ability - take last year's winner of the Tingle Creek; Politologue. Excellent chaser, a gutsy individual, but not quite on the scale of some.
On the other hand, Nicky Henderson's patience has rewarded him with many Champions of the divisions, with Buveur D'Air and Altior both winning back-to-back races at the Cheltenham Festival, becoming the Champion Hurdlers and Champion Chasers respectively.
Both Nicholls and Henderson are both Champion Trainers in their own right, but their success is based on the quality of horses they have had to deal with in reason seasons.
They both train great horses, who win many valuable prizes across the country, across the season, but Nicky has certainly come off the better in the last few years with true flag bearers and stable-stars, especially with those previously named.
These two trainers are certainly top of the tree, and are the Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott (Ireland's top two leading trainers) of England. It should not be a case who is better; they are both highly educated, highly respected, and get outstanding results from their training methods.
We should not be divided in opinion, but more-so behind both, as England look to re-secure domination at their own Festival in March at Cheltenham; a venue where both Mullins and Elliott have come off the better in the last two years especially with multiple winners.
Both of these leading marksmen train our favourite horses, and give us great access to their yards and horses, and are highly commendable for doing so.