Nicholls looking to the future following latest title triumph

More winners – and championships – will be the order of the day

  • Saturday 27 April
  • News
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Paul Nicholls hopes to continue where he left off next season after being crowned champion trainer for an 11th time.

Nicholls celebrated his latest championship with a double courtesy of Getaway Trump and Black Corton at Sandown – with the latter giving golden girl Bryony Frost a winner on her return from injury.

Reflecting on his title triumph, the Ditcheat handler said: “It was brilliant to win it, but I didn’t think we would this year. The team have worked hard and we have got to where we want to be. The Grade One winners help, as did the day we had eight winners across the card.

“It is hard to explain to people what it feels like to win it, as it is quite surreal.”

Having celebrated his 3,000th jumps winner at Cheltenham earlier this month, Nicholls already has his sights set on reaching more personal milestones.

He said: “Clifford (Baker, head lad) and I always like to have an aim – we had the one of 3,000 winners and it would be on our radar if we all stay fit and healthy to have 4,000 winners and with that we might have a few more championships.

“If it happens that we do beat Martin Pipe’s total of 15 (titles) it will be fantastic, but I just want keep training lots of winners.”

With her infectious smile and charismatic personality, Frost has captured the hearts of the racing public and victory aboard Black Corton in the Oaksey Chase – her 50th of the campaign – helped cement her status as this season’s champion conditional jockey.

Frost, who has just returned from a broken collarbone, said: “For this little guy to win means the world to me as I started my career with him.

“It’s been heartbreaking this year as he had a couple of seconds and the little guy just needed a little bit of luck, as he had that fire in his belly. He has brought me out of a very gloomy cloud.

“Racing has its ups and downs and we’ve run into a few injuries this year, so it has been frustrating. It makes winning the title probably more of an achievement in my head as we have managed to achieve it with time off.”

There will always be a special place in the heart of Frost for Black Corton, but in many ways this season has all been about her incredible partnership with Frodon, culminating in victory in the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

She added: “Frodon has made a memory I will never forget. Not just for me, but for everybody. He showcases what determination should be. He wants to compete, gallop and jump and that is where he gets his kick out of life.

“It was an incredible day for it to all happen and for it to go our way was magical. Fairytales don’t become reality, but Frodon showed that a silver lining in one cloud may come your way.”

Having lived in the shadows of the now-retired Sir Anthony McCoy for much of his career, Richard Johnson, who reached the 200-winner mark for just the second time in his career at Perth on Friday, continued his recent domination of the Stobart Jump Jockeys Championship.

Lifting the trophy for the fourth time, Johnson said: “I’m obviously delighted and that is what I set out to do at the start of the season, to be champion again, and to get to 200 winners was the icing on the cake.

“It is fantastic to do it, but there has been a lot of work and help from owners, trainers and my agent Dave Roberts.

“I thought La Bague Au Roi was great at Christmas and hopefully she is one to look forward next season. It will be the plan to be champion jockey again and that target has never changed.”

There may have been no title collected by jockey Wayne Hutchinson, but he ended the season breaking the £1million prize-money barrier for the first time in his career following his victory on the Alan King-trained Talkischeap in the bet365 Gold Cup.

Hutchinson said: “He took me exactly where I wanted to be and when horses do that it makes your job easy.

“I’ve had my best season for winners and that was the icing on the cake, taking me past the million-pound money barrier for the first time.”

Nicholls looking to the future following latest title triumph
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