Nicholls extends lead over Mullins in battle for trainers jumps’ title
David Metcalf | April 22, 2016
Paul Nicholls extended his lead over Willie Mullins in the race to become Britain’s champion jumps trainer yesterday with an across-the-card treble at Warwick and Exeter.
The Ditcheat handler is now £53,556 ahead of County Carlow-based Mullins, who had just two runners on the day and saddled the winner of the opener at Perth.
Mullins has just one runner today at Perth, whilst Nicholls launches a four-pronged attack on this evening’s card at Chepstow.
With some big pots on offer on the final day of the jumps season at Sandown tomorrow, the thrilling title battle is set to go right down to the wire.
Perth – One runner for Mullins
15.40 – McCarthy & Stone Chase (£9,097 to winner): Rolly Baby came good at the second time of asking over fences when overcoming a mistake at the last to win by four lengths in testing conditions at Navan. Remains very lightly-raced for an 11-year-old and looks the type that could have more to offer now going down the handicap route. Big player but quicker ground a concern.
Chepstow – Four runners for Nicholls
16.30 – Evan And Megan Brace Memorial Novices’ Hurdle division 1 (£3,899 to winner): Rainy City has a progressive profile over the obstacles, shaping well when third on debut before scoring easily last time out at Exeter. Should have more to offer and looks the one to beat.
17.00 – Evan And Megan Brace Memorial Novices’ Hurdle division 2 (£3,899 to winner): Simon Squirrel made a successful start over hurdles at Newton Abbot back in October and has run well in defeat since behind the likes of Supreme winner Altior. Good third in hot handicap at Aintree last time out and outstanding claims now dropped in grade.
18.05 – Dunraven Windows Handicap Chase (£7,798 to winner): Ruben Cotter has talent but has been difficult to train and been very disappointing in two starts this season. Needs to bounce back but on a handy mark if doing so and can’t be discounted.
20.05 – Braceys ‘The Friendly Builders Merchant’ ‘National Hunt’ Maiden Hurdle (£2,599 to winner): Whispering Storm has shaped with promise in two run since joining Nicholls, most notably when third last time out at Exeter. Won’t need to build on that much to be a big player in what looks a very winnable contest.
Current prize money totals heading into today’s action