Title-hunting Paul Nicholls makes it 14 winners from last 32 runners

Paul Nicholls’s march towards a 10th champion trainer’s title continued to gather pace as his recent return to form continued with a treble at Taunton.
Title-hunting Paul Nicholls makes it 14 winners from last 32 runners

Though enduring a lean spell during December and January, the Ditcheat handler made it 14 winners from his last 32 runners courtesy of victories for The Brock Again, Antartica De Thaix and Captain Buck’s.

After finishing second over fences at Wincanton earlier this month, The Brock Again (15-8) went one better when initiating the Nicholls three-timer with a length-and-three-quarters win under Sam Twiston-Davies in the Royal Bath & West Novices’ Handicap Chase.

Nicholls said: “He deserved to win a race as he has been running consistently well. He jumped well at Wincanton last time and he galloped all the way to the line today.

“He is a good fun horse for the owners. He wants further on better ground as he was flat out all the way there.”

Nicholls’s belief Antartica De Thaix (3-1) could develop into a useful sort was bolstered by her inaugural win in the British Stallion Studs EBF Mares’ “National Hunt” Novices’ Hurdle.

Despite unseating on her last start at Wincanton, the six-year-old showed no ill-effects from that spill when taking the two-mile-three-furlong prize by a length-and-three-quarters at the expense of 1-3 favourite Robinesse, to complete Twiston-Davies’ double and the middle leg of Nicholls’ haul.

Nicholls said: “She is keen-going and Sam thought she would settle better in front. She will jump a fence in time.

“There are some good mares’ races about and she will keep getting better with experience.”

Stan Sheppard rode his first winner for Nicholls when completing the treble aboard Captain Buck’s in the Somerset County Gazette Standard National Hunt Flat Race on his first start in Britain.

Receiving weight from all his rivals the 11-4 shot cruised home by three-and-a-half lengths in the extended two-mile affair from 7-4 Misterton.

Colin Tizzard enjoyed a double of his own highlighted by the victory of Royal Vacation in the feature Bathwick Tyres Handicap Hurdle.

Dropped back into handicap company having failed to be competitive in a Grade Two contest behind Yanworth last time out, the 7-4 favourite needed the full assistance of Paddy Brennan before obliging by half a length.

Tizzard said: “I’d hope he would win today, otherwise he wouldn’t get in any of the handicaps.

"We put him in the Albert Bartlett early on, but that was a good race for him to win. I think he is a three-mile horse as Paddy Brennan said he was flat out the whole way round and that he could have gone on again.”

Allchilledout (9-2) opened his account at the sixth attempt when getting the ball rolling for Tizzard in the Mercedes-Benz of Taunton Handicap Hurdle.

The win also presented the Gale Force syndicate with the second leg of their first double after taking the opening Aspen Waite Complete Business Growth Service Mares’ Handicap Hurdle with the Jeremy Scott-trained Shoofly Milly (13-8), a victory under Matt Griffiths.

The Richard Williams Memorial “Grassroots” Hunters Chase, in which only six of the 13 that started out finished, went the way of the Les Jefford trained Delta Borget (17-2).

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