Racing News
Thursday 30th October 2014
   
Nicholls Bidding to Land Top Trainer Crown for Ninth Time in Ten Seasons

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Paul Nicholls may lack the proven firepower he once had at his Ditcheat stable, but the eight-time champion National Hunt trainer has an abundance of up-and-coming talent going into battle for the new jumps campaign, as he aims to sit pretty at the top of the Trainers’ Championship for a ninth time in ten years come the end of April.

Yet again, Nicholls will lock horns with jumping heavyweight Nicky Henderson, who will try and bag his second top trainer crown, an accolade he picked up two seasons ago in 2012/2013, as an array of high profile victories propelled him to the top of the trainers and halt a seven-year run the aforementioned Nicholls had managed at the summit.

Sprinter Sacre
© Racehorse Photos

Sprinter Sacre
Whilst Nicholls has lost the likes of Kauto Star, Denman, Big Buck’s, Master Minded and a whole host of top class performers in recent years, Henderson has some of the finest equine talents within his Seven Barrows stable and with some of his luminaries set to return after lengthy absences it’s no surprise to see the 64-year-old as a 6/5 favourite with Betfred to lift the Top Trainer crown.

Henderson’s challenge for last season’s title took a major blow when Sprinter Sacre and Simonsig were ruled out for the majority of the season, but those two former Cheltenham Festival winners are all set for hotly-anticipated comebacks and will spearhead the Henderson challenge along with former Gold Cup hero Bobs Worth.

Silviniaco Conti
© Racehorse Photos

Silviniaco Conti
Silviniaco Conti is the shining beacon in the Nicholls yard and he will battle it out in all the elite staying chases this term with the Charlie Hall Chase, Betfair Chase and King George VI Chase just a trio of assignments pencilled in before the end of the year, but the Ditcheat maestro will need his emerging jumpers to step up to the plate if he is to even remotely challenge Henderson.

A best-priced 2/1 shot with the Betfair Sportsbook for a ninth crown, Nicholls will be seen racking up the winners during the week as his sheer number of horses will see him continue to keep the tally ticking over on a day-to-day basis. However, with a relatively small number of big race candidates at this stage it’s hard to see him winning enough prize money to challenge Henderson who will have a consistent amount of challengers in the valuable elite races.

An initial look at the 2014/2015 Trainers’ Championship Betting would immediately have you thinking it’s a two-horse race, but Jonjo O’Neill has had a tremendous start to the campaign and the Jackdaws Castle could well have a strong battalion in the Graded races this season and he has often been a man for the big occasion and he is 5/1 with Paddy Power.

David Pipe (33/1) and Donald McCain (66/1) will both rack up the numbers this season, whilst Willie Mullins is available at 33/1, but he is unlikely to field enough firepower to make a challenge, so you have to look at the leading three in the market for what will be a terrific sideshow from the season itself.

Nevertheless, it could be determined on who is a more regular figure in the winner’s enclosure at the big meetings and whilst Nicholls is likely to saddle more winners than Henderson during the season, it will be the 2013 winner that can regain his coveted crown with an array of winners at the Cheltenham Festival like to cement his place at the top of the pile.

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