Paul Nicholls Stable Tour – Clan captains Cheltenham squad

Paul Nicholls Stable Tour

Paul Nicholls poses with Clan Des Obeaux during a recent stable tour.

We bring you this Paul Nicholls Stable Tour ahead of the upcoming Cheltenham Festival, which starts on Tuesday 10th March.

Paul Nicholls burst onto the scene in the late 1990s and has gone on to be crowned British Champion Trainer 11 times since. One of the leading trainers at the Cheltenham Festival, Nicholls 45 Festival winners include four victories in the Gold Cup, the Champion Chase and the Stayers’ Hurdle. The master of Ditcheat completed his collection of Championship race wins in 2012, as Rock On Ruby won his one and only Champion Hurdle.

With just weeks to go until the 2020 Cheltenham Festival, we bring you the latest quotes from Nicholls, as he runs through his Festival team, alongside the latest Cheltenham Festival offers.

*All Paul Nicholls Stable Tour quotes attributed to Timeform*

Paul Nicholls Stable Tour – Day Two

Champion Chase

Dynamite Dollars

“He had a great season as a novice chase and won four races, including the Henry VIII. He then got a leg injury at Doncaster, which meant he missed the rest of the season.”

“We always had the plan to run him in the Game Spirit en-route to the Champion Chase. For a horse that was having his first run out of novice company and hadn’t run for a year, I thought it was a blinding run to be beaten three and a half lengths by Altior.”

“He has improved enormously for that run and also worked very nicely this morning at Wincanton. He is a really lively outsider in my book and amongst the Cheltenham tips which means he won’t need to improve much on the Newbury run to put him right in the mix.”


“We took a few horses to Wincanton this morning for a two-mile piece of work and he worked nicely. He has had a great preparation (and) if it keeps raining, it will suit him. He is a really lively outsider in the Champion Chase,”

“He is almost the forgotten horse if you think he wasn’t beaten far last year and he saves his best race for Cheltenham. He jumped the last virtually upsides Altior and wasn’t beaten too far.”

“He has come right at this time of year and looks great. He ran very well at Cheltenham in the autumn, when giving 3lb to Defi Du Seuil. We found out that he bled in the Tingle Creek – and we purposely haven’t run him since then with the idea of going to Cheltenham racecourse very fresh.”

Boodles Juvenile Handicap

Mick Pastor

“Mick Pastor is another nice four-year-old. He joined us in the summer after winning his only start in the spring at Auteuil.”

“We went to Cheltenham with him in November and he pulled very, very hard. He did not really go in the ground either and it was a bit of a disaster. We found out he had ulcers and treated him for that. He was much more amenable at Ludlow and absolutely bolted in. We have kept him back since.”

“He has a mark of 140, which puts him in between the horses at the top of the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle and those in the JCB Triumph Hurdle. I have not spoken to JP McManus’ team, but I suspect he will run in the Boodles. He worked at Wincanton this morning and went nicely. He is a smart young horse and there is quite a lot in front of him yet.”

Thyme White

“Thyme White will run in the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle. He has had three runs. He was second to Goshen on his debut at Sandown, second at Kempton over Christmas and then won the Musselburgh Triumph Hurdle Trial a fortnight ago.”

“He has a rating of 133 and I think he can do something off that mark. He is progressing and the Boodles is a race we have done well in. I would think this lad will have a leading chance in the Cheltenham tips. He is a proper horse who will make a lovely chaser one day.”

Paul Nicholls Stable Tour – Day Three

Marsh Novices’ Chase

Saint Sonnet

“Saint Sonnet won nicely at Catterick on Tuesday. The plan is for him to run in the Marsh Novices’ Chase.

“If it dried up he could run in the RSA, but the Marsh is the main aim. He will improve tons from Catterick and there is more to come from him.”

Ryanair Chase


“He was last year’s hero. He is in the Gold Cup, but he is almost certain to run in the Ryanair Chase unless things change enormously.”

“He loves Cheltenham, he loves going left-handed and he loves that new course. If it kept on raining, it wouldn’t do him any harm. He is in a good place with himself and really ready to defend his crown.”

“He ran in the Old Roan off top-weight, using that as a preparation for the Betfair Chase, and of course all the fences came out and he basically had a gallop round. Then he completely under-performed in the Betfair Chase and Clifford (Baker) scoped him and found out he had grade four ulcers.”

“He worked very well with Clan Des Obeaux. He loves this time of year and is exactly where he wants to be.”

Listen to who Daryl Carter thinks is the best of his Cheltenham Festival tips in the Ryanair here in his video preview…

Paul Nicholls Stable Tour – Day Four

Triumph Hurdle


“He is a beautiful horse and probably the only colt still running over hurdles at the moment. We have been delighted with him ever since he arrived. He is a big tank of a thing and takes loads of work.”

“It is quite a lofty rating and he is nearly rated the same as some in the Champion Hurdle. That would be interesting – running in a Champion Hurdle with an 8lb four-year-old allowance – but he will run in the Triumph.”

“He was going to go to Wincanton a fortnight ago – we thought we would start small and work up. That meeting ended up being called off, so we went to Kempton and I’m glad we did as he showed that bit of ‘wow factor’ and we realized just what we had on our hands.”

“There is loads to work on. He has got plenty of condition and thrives on his work. You would hardly know he’d had a race at the weekend.”

“He has got a BHA mark of 157, but I think the handicapper must have just got a ruler out and worked out he was 10 lengths in front of the rest and put him up 10lb.”

“He jumps great and to me, he was visually more impressive than (former Triumph Hurdle winner) Zarkander when winning the same race, and once he’s done it again I’ll be even more excited. We are very hopeful he will go well amongst the Cheltenham tips and I’d say he’s got a massive chance.”

Sir Psycho

“He will definitely run in the Triumph hurdle – we thought he was our main contender before Solo came out last week.

“He has progressed really well from a really slow start. He was a bit of a Jack the Lad to start with and he is probably well named, but he has progressed and has got a good attitude and done everything right.”

“He won an all-aged novice hurdle at Exeter by 31 lengths on New Year’s Day and to make sure that wasn’t a fluke, we took him to Haydock for the Victor Ludorum, and he hosed in again.”

“He is a progressive young horse. Whether he is in the same mould as Solo is a different matter, but he is a horse who will win a lot of races and will give a great account of himself on day four at Cheltenham – he will gallop all the way up the hill.”

County Hurdle

Quel Destin

“Quel Destin ran second on Sunday in what was a bit of an odd running of the National Spirit Hurdle at Fontwell.”

“I have often thought he was a horse who keeps a bit for himself and on a couple of occasions I have very nearly put cheekpieces on him. I wish I did on Sunday because he went to the front, hung a bit and pulled himself up, and sort of threw the race away.”

“He is in the Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle off top weight and if it came up testing, with the weights being so condensed and Bryan Carver claiming 5lb, it may be worth looking at. The race would suit him and he likes Cheltenham. If not, he will go to Sandown on the last day of the season and then onto Auteuil for the Prix La Barka.”

Clan Des Obeaux King George Kempton

Clan Des Obeaux laps up the applause after retaining his King George crown at Kempton.

Gold Cup

Clan Des Obeaux

“I think Clan has got a great chance in the Gold Cup and I’m quietly confident he will give us a good race. He looks absolutely fantastic in his coat and did a proper workout with Frodon over two miles. It was part of their prep to go somewhere this week. I was thrilled with how this lad worked – he went particularly well.”

“The best thing we did was miss Ascot this year. He’s good when he’s very fit and very fresh which he is at the moment which will help at the Cheltenham Festival tips. He had a great workout at Wincanton this morning and I was thrilled with him, he showed he’s fit and in good health.”

“I think the fact that we haven’t run and he’s going into the race with a different preparation will be massive for him. He hasn’t won at Cheltenham yet, but perhaps it will happen in two weeks’ time. Some have said he doesn’t act at Cheltenham, but he hasn’t run too badly there, which should aid us in the Cheltenham tips.”

“He wasn’t beaten much by Whisper in a novice chase there and he carried top-weight, and he was second in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup when he was half the horse he is now. He ran well in last year’s Gold Cup, he was fifth and jumped the last bang there with them, but didn’t quite finish.”

“Last year we went to the Denman Chase and we went to Cheltenham Festival. This year we have had a different preparation, as we have worked out he is at his best when he has a run, then a nice gap.”

“We rode him to the fore last year and this year we will ride him with a bit more restraint, take our time with him and deliver him late. The key to him is that he is a year older and has had a different preparation. He is very effective when he is very fit and fresh, which is a combination that is lethal.”

Foxhunter Chase


“David Maxwell is going to ride Shantou Flyer in the St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase, so we will only run Alcala in the race. Bob And Co will probably go to Aintree.”

“Alcala didn’t have a great prep as he had to go to Fontwell on Sunday, so he needs to get over that race. I think if we can get him back to his best, he is not without a chance in a race where five or six could conceivably win.”

Grand Annual


“He’s going to run in the Grand Annual. He’s rated 150 which I think is a fair enough mark but you have to run to 150 if you’re going to win the Arkle so hopefully, he can do that.”

“He’s progressive and he can only get better, he’s still a young horse and lightly raced. Who knows, he could easily be a 160 horse in a years time.”


“Capeland has had a good season, winning a valuable handicap chase at Ascot. We have kept him fresh and I suspect he will run here (In the Grand Annual) as well and will be a good pick in the Cheltenham Festival tips.”