Paul Nicholls lost out to Nicky Henderson by over £500,000 in the race for the trainers title in 2012/13 but must have wondered how close he could have pushed Henderson had Big Bucks, Al Ferof and Tidal Bay not had their seasons curtailed due to injury.
At his owners day he had this news on that trio:
Won his 18th consecutive hurdles race at Newbury in December but unfortunately a small leg injury came to light soon after and we decided to put him away for the rest of the season. He's been back in a week now, which is really a week earlier than I wanted but he'd got so fat ... He'll do six weeks of road work and start cantering in October. We'll look to give him one run before he tries for a fifth World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, possibly in the Cleeve Hurdle in January, so long as the ground isn't too bad. There's no reason why he shouldn't be as good as ever but we'll see how we go with him and take our time.
He's been a fantastic horse for us, winning the Paddy Power Gold Cup last November before getting a minor leg injury that ended his season. He got the trip well on soft ground in the Cheltenham race, which surprised us a little. He's been back two weeks, he had his first canter on Saturday and I've been very pleased with the way he looks and the way he goes. His first target is the King George on Boxing Day and we might get a run into him beforehand. Ultimately, John would like to run him in the Gold Cup.
A fantastic horse to be involved with. He won over hurdles at Wetherby, then he was second in the Hennessy, giving weight to the winner, who went on to win the Gold Cup. He gave me one of the proudest moments of my career when he won the Lexus in Ireland, just getting up on the line. Ruby said he was always going to get there, but it didn't look that way to me! He picked up an injury that day that wiped out the rest of his season but he's fully recovered now. He seems as good and as enthusiastic as ever. We're hopeful there's still another good race in him and we'll probably follow the same sort of route this year as last.
Betfair were in attendance at the event and have released the videos below. We are also tracking the Nicholl's yard on our forum.
He selected these as his horses to follow in an October update: