Paul Nicholls landed his seventh NH Trainers title in 2011-12. In a previous article we attributed his latest win to the coaxing of significant performances (and earnings) from his older horses. We noted the significant contributions of veterans Kauto Star, Neptune Collonges,Tidal Bay and Celestial Halo to his total 2011-12 prize money. We speculated too that his title rival Nicky Henderson had more horses on an upward curve for the 2012-13 season.
Nicholls however won't be giving up his title without a battle and he outlined plans for his stable stars at his owners day last weekend. Nicholls paraded a total of 82 horses peaking positively about Suerte Al Salto,Toubab and a recent John Hales purchase Unioniste. Ten to follow entrants will also be interested in the targets for some of last season's top rated novices chasers :
Pacha du Polder : Targets Hennessy Gold Cup
"Pacha Du Polder won a novice chase at Warwick in January but then had a few problems in the spring as a lot of my horses did at the time. We left him out of Cheltenham and went to Ayr in April where he won the Grade Two Future Champions Novices' Chase by 14 lengths over two and a half miles which we consider a minimum for him now.He is a strong, scopy type who we think highly of – he goes for the Hennessy which could be his first run of the season."
Sanctuaire : Tingle Creek and Champion Chase
"Sanctuaire is our highest novice chaser to go into a second season over fences – he is rated only 3lb behind Sprinter Sacre and is higher than our Azertuiop after he won the Arkle in 2003.He's always been a bit of a character and is very talented. He doesn't want to be over-raced, so we will campaign him lightly and aggressively and plan to start in the Tingle Creek over two miles as Sandown Park suits him so well. His spring target will obviously be the Champion Chase."
Silviniaco Conti : Charlie Hall Chase and King George
"Silviniaco Conti won Wincanton's Rising Stars' Novices' Chase and was second in the Feltham splitting Grand Crus and Bobs Worth before running nowhere near his best at Ascot in February but then being so impressive at Aintree. He has to step up again this season and could be a Cheltenham Gold Cup horse in 2014 rather than 2013. He'll start in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby and will have a King George entry but we are not ruling anything in or out with him."
Harry The Viking : Hennesssy Gold Cup and Aintree Grand National
"Harry The Viking was a little unlucky coming into the home straight at Cheltenham but he is a great stayer and jumper who was over the top when pulled up in the Scottish Grand National. He will have an entry for the Badger Ales at Wincanton in November and possibly the Hennessy and will definitely be entered for the Aintree Grand National."
You can catch more of Paul Nicholls Owners Day from these two short videos ( courtest of Racing Post TV):