Paul Nicholls Stable Tour: 2021/22 Season

Paul Nicholls Horse Trainer
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Paul Nicholls

Crowned Champion Trainer for the twelfth time last season, Paul Nicholls is back to his best and has a strong team of horses that mean he has both youth and experience in the ranks ahead of the new campaign.

We take a look at some of the big names to follow from Team Ditcheat this season.

Barbados Bucks

6yo, bay gelding

Form: 21110-

Verdict: There should be plenty more to come from Barbados Bucks this season. He’s held in very high regard by Team Ditcheat, as is proven by the fact he was given a chance to run in the Grade One Albert Bartlett after notching up a hat-trick of novice events over the winter. That might have been a step too far for him after finishing 11th, but he very much looks like a staying chaser in the making and will be one to follow over the bigger obstacles this term.

Bravemansgame

6yo, bay gelding

Form: 211132-

Verdict: Top class hurdler who quickly went through the ranks last season, taking a hat-trick of novice events at Exeter and then Newbury, where he landed the Grade One Challow Hurdle by an impressive 10 lengths. Placed efforts then followed in the Ballymore at the Festival and in the Sefton at Aintree, and big things are expected as he embarks on a career over fences. Nicholls has already compared him to the great Denman.

Clan Des Obeaux

9yo, bay gelding

Form: 2321-1

Verdict: A dual King George winner, Clan Des Obeaux has plenty of class and proved his consistency once again last season to never finish outside the first three in all of his five starts. He couldn’t quite defend his Boxing Day crown at Kempton, finishing third, but returned back to winning ways on spring ground in the Betway Bowl at Aintree and then winning the Punchestown Gold Cup. A similar campaign would be expected again this season, and as a 9yo going on 10, there should be plenty of class still in him.

Cyrname

9yo, bay gelding

Form: F/1PP-

Verdict: He’s never quite really been the same since that battle with Altior at Ascot, and although he got the better of the Nicky Henderson superstar that day, Cyrname has now only been first past the post once since then. That came in fairly impressive fashion in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby last season, but he was then pulled-up in the King George at Kempton and again in the Ascot Chase in February. He’s got a touch to prove this season, but you’d be a brave man to bet against Paul Nicholls finding that old spark.

Enrilo

7yo, black gelding

Form: 21P13-

Verdict: Rated 143 over hurdles, Enrilo won twice last season, including a decent Class 2 at Exeter in November. He finished up the season by being first past the post in the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown, but was later demoted to third after hanging left. Despite that, his form looks decent and there could be more to come from him this season.

Frodon

9yo, bay gelding

Form: 14151-

Verdict: An absolute legend of the sport, Frodon was arguably as good as ever last season, winning the King George at Kempton and then going on to finish 5th in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, before winning the Oaksey Chase at Sandown. Nicholls seems to know what makes him tick at home and Bryony Frost has created a brilliant partnership with him in the saddle. He’s expected to start his new campaign in the Champion Chase at Down Royal, which is regularly used by Nicholls.

Give Me A Copper

11yo, chestnut gelding

Form: 17/2PP-

Verdict: Memorably won the Badger Beers at Wincanton back in 2019, but is a much older horse these days and there’s every chance that his best days are behind him. He’s best effort last season came when runner-up at Doncaster in December, but was pulled up in the SkyBet Chase and the Grand National since. He has always been lightly raced and Nicholls is likely to carefully plot his season with winning chances probably few and far between for him these days.

Greaneteen

7yo, bay gelding

From: 12341-

Verdict: Proved himself to be top class two mile chaser last season, winning the Haldon Gold Cup on his first start of the campaign, before finishing runner-up to stablemate Politologue in the Tingle Creek at Sandown. He was later fourth in the Champion Chase at Cheltenham, but picked up his first Grade One when winning the Celebration Chase at Sandown, with Altior in second. You’d expect him to follow a similar route this season, and the best could still be yet to come with the Tingle Creek likely his first big target.

Hitman

5yo, bay gelding

Form: 12F13-

Verdict: There’s most definitely more to come from Hitman, because after being babyish for the majority of last season, you can be sure that Nicholls will have him straightened out for the new campaign. Despite those childish tendencies, he did win twice over fences last season and ran with great credit to finish a close third behind Protektorat and The Shunter in the Manifesto at Aintree. That’s a strong piece of form and he’ll be one to keep on side this season.

Magic Saint

7yo, bay gelding

Form: 61445P2-

Verdict: A winner over two miles at Cheltenham’s November meeting last year, he quickly progressed into Graded company without huge success until stepping up to two-and-a-half miles. That didn’t immediately do the trick when pulling up over the National fences in the Topham, but back at Cheltenham in April he was second in a Grade Two. He might be one that is rated too highly to mix it in handicaps this season, but there should be still improvement in him so a Graded race might not totally be out of the question.

Master Tommytucker

10yo, bay gelding

Form: 2117126-

Verdict: A three time winner last season, including the Grade Two Silviniaco Conti Chase at Kempton, he was unlucky not to follow up in the Grade One Ascot Chase when outbattled up the run in by Dashel Drasher. The King George was mentioned as a possible target for him this year, and he’d be well worth a go over three miles.

McFabulous

7yo, bay gelding

Form: 13128-

Verdict: Rated 158 over hurdles, he picked up the Persian War and Relkeel Hurdle last season, but could be even better over fences and it will be interesting to see how he develops as a chaser this season. Nicholls has highlighted the Kauto Star on Boxing Day as being perfect for him, so he’s one to remember when Christmas comes around.

Monmiral

4yo, black gelding

Form: 1/1111-

Verdict: Part owned by Sir Alex Ferguson, Monmiral has continued his owners winning streak and remains unbeaten in five visits to the racecourse. Two of those have been in Graded company, firstly in the Summit Juvenile at Doncaster and then very impressively in the Grade One Doom Bar Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle at Aintree. He looks destined for the top and big things are expected whether he remains over hurdles or goes chasing this season.

Next Destination

9yo, bay gelding

Form: 2112-

Verdict: Continued his good form after moving to Ditcheat from Willie Mullins’, and was well placed by Paul Nicholls to win twice at Grade Two level. He wasn’t outside the first two in four starts this campaign and finished his term when runner-up in the National Hunt Chase at the Festival. Consistency is what he’s all about and you’d expect nothing different this season.

Politologue

10yo, grey gelding

Form: 124-

Verdict: Another horse that is always consistent is Politologue, and although he struggled to build on his Champion Chase win last season, he did still manage to pick up the Tingle Creek and was placed in the Clarence House. Age is starting to get against him now, but freshness has always been the key to him so you’d expect Nicholls to pick and choose his races this season with stablemate Graneteen likely to be a real contender in the two mile chasing division this term.

Threeunderthrufive

6yo, bay gelding

Form: 11161-

Verdict: A progressive novice over hurdles last season, this 6yo should have plenty more to come over staying distances after finishing his campaign by winning a Listed event over three miles at Perth in April, adding to his Scottish Stayers Novices’ Hurdle crown. He looks like he could be a smart chaser this term and might be one for a nice handicap before stepping up to Graded company.

Yala Enki

11yo, bay geldingForm: 2F314U-

Verdict: It feels like Yala Enki has been around forever, but he’ll be back again after what was a fairly consistent campaign last term. Things didn’t quite go to plan around Aintree last season, unseating in the National and falling in the Topham, but away from there she was placed in two Group 3’s, including the Welsh Grand National and won the Portman Cup at Taunton. You’d expect him to tackle the Welsh National again and will stick to slogging it out over marathon trips.

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