Paul Nicholls Off to A Flying Start To 2023/24 Trainers’ Championship

With 14 Trainers’ Championship titles, Paul Nicholls is one of the most successful National Hunt trainers in history. He looks set for more major glory this season, as the horses at his Ditcheat yard have made an excellent start to the 2023/24 campaign.

Nicholls has trained some of the best Jumps horses of all time, with Kauto Star, Denman and Master Minded all having glittering careers under his watch. He will be hoping his latest stars go on to replicate some of their success.

Bravemansgame On Course for Another Shot at Gold Cup

The Cheltenham Gold Cup is the most prestigious race in Jumps racing, and Nicholls has been fortunate to win the contest four times. He goes into the latest renewal in March with one of the leading contenders in Bravemansgame. Last season’s runner-up is 20/1 in the betting horses market for the blue riband event of the Cheltenham Festival.

Bravemansgame has featured three times already this season and he has finished second on each of those starts. His latest appearance came in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day where the 2022 winner was the runner-up behind Hewick.

If Bravemansgame is victorious in the Gold Cup in 2024, Nicholls will match Tom Dreaper’s record of five triumphs as a trainer.

Stage Star Set for Shot at Ryanair Chase

With five wins from seven starts over fences, Stage Star has shown he has an exciting future ahead of him. He was victorious at Cheltenham’s November Meeting in a premier handicap contest, scoring by four lengths in a competitive field.

 

The seven-year-old chaser won the Grade One Turners Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last March. He is set to return to the meeting this season for the Ryanair Chase where he will come up against the defending champion Allaho.

Nicholls is likely to give Stage Star one more run before the Festival, and that could come on Trials Day at Prestbury Park in late January. His record at Cheltenham is very good so he will be expected to be in the mix at the finish of the Ryanair Chase.

Rubaud In Contention for Champion Hurdle

Last season’s Scottish Champion Hurdle winner, Rubaud, has continued to improve his official rating on the track for Nicholls. He is now rated at 149 and is a serious contender for the 2024 Champion Hurdle.

The five-year-old won his opening two assignments of the campaign, with victories coming at Kempton and Wincanton. The latter was the Grade Two Elite Hurdle, and he won that comfortably by over fourth lengths.

Rubaud took on defending Champion Hurdle winner Constitution Hill in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton over the festive period. He had to settle for the runner-up spot by Nicky Henderson’s star. That performance will give Nicholls a lot of confidence ahead of a shot at the premier 2m hurdles race in the sport.

Nicholls heads to the Cheltenham Festival with one of his strongest teams yet. He will be hoping his horses shine across the four days and if he does get some positive results, it should cement Trainer Championship title number 15 for the Ditcheat man.

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