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Paul Nicholls: Champion Trainer’s Top 5 Moments | 2020/21

Paul Nicholls was crowned champion trainer at Sandown on Saturday after another stellar year

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Paul Nicholls with his Champion Trainer trophy for the national hunt season 2020-21 at Sandown Park Racecourse, Esher. Picture date: Saturday April 24, 2021.

On a sunny afternoon at Perth last Wednesday, would-be champion trainer Paul Nicholls totted up his personal best for a season when landing his 172nd victory for the 2020/21 campaign.

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Despite lacking a Cheltenham Festival winner back in March, the Ditcheat chief has still enjoyed six Grade 1 successes since December and took home a 12th champion trainer’s title at Sandown Park on Saturday.

On Wednesday afternoon, he sends recent Betway Bowl victor Clan Des Obeaux across the Irish Sea to Punchestown in a bid to tackle the best of those flying the Irish tri-colour.

Clan Des Obeaux bids to provide Paul Nicholls with a Punchestown Grade 1 on Wednesday afternoon

But in homage to another record-breaking 11 months, we reflect on Nicholls’s five greatest moments that his band of Somerset contenders have provided.

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Take a read.

Politologue | Betfair Tingle Creek Chase (Grade 1) | Saturday 5th December 2020

Ridden by subsequent champion jockey Harry Skelton, who had partnered the grey to victory in the Champion Chase nine months prior, John Hales’ star landed a second Tingle Creek in Esher to get his season off to a flier.

WATCH: POLITOLOGUE BEATS STABLE-MATE GREANETEEN IN THE TINGLE CREEK [CREDIT: RACING TV]

The 9-year-old hosed up by 7-lengths, following the late withdrawal of Altior, a horse who had always had his number.

Harry Skelton and Politolouge en route to winning the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival
Politologue won the Champion Chase at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival

It was his fourth career Grade 1, and he would go onto finish second in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot and fourth in the Melling at Aintree.

Frodon | Ladbrokes King George VI Chase (Grade 1) | Saturday 26th December 2020

12 has been the magic number for Nicholls in 2020/21, and he secured that number of wins in the King George on Boxing Day thanks to the valiant efforts of fan favourite Frodon.

Frodon won a second Grade 1 at Kempton Park following his Festival success two years ago

The 2019 Ryanair winner wasn’t the stable’s expected successor with two-time king Clan Des Obeaux and highest rated horse in training Cyrname also in the field, but that didn’t halt Bryony Frost’s mount from putting in a superb front-running display and reward his trainer with a third win in a row in the contest.

WATCH: FRODON WINS THE KING GEORGE AT KEMPTON [CREDIT: RACING TV]

He went onto finish a mighty fifth in the Gold Cup before taking the Oaksey Chase at Sandown on Saturday afternoon.

Monmiral | Doom Bar Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1) | Thursday 8th April 2021

Nicholls’ decision to bypass the Triumph proved a masterstroke as his unbeaten French import maintained his undefeated record at Aintree at the Grand National Festival.

WATCH: MONMIRAL SEES OFF ADAGIO IN THE ANNIVERSARY AT AINTREE [CREDIT: RACING TV]

The son of Saint Des Saints won on three occasions between November and February, but his handler opted to save him for Merseyside over Gloucestershire with preference for a tilt at a novice chasing career next season.

Monmiral ridden by Harry Cobden and trained by Paul Nicholls, coming home to win the Doom Bar Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle during the Liverpool NHS Day of the 2021 Randox Health Grand National Festival at Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool

It proved a decisive decision, as Monmiral landed the five-timer in good style under Harry Cobden to hold the Cheltenham Festival second Adagio at bay.

Threeunderthrufive | British EBF William Hill Gold Castle “National Hunt” Novices’ Hurdle (Listed) | Wednesday 21st April

The day where a new record was set.

Threeunderthrufive (right) has five wins from his seven outings to date

A consistent performer for Ditcheat, amplified none more so than when finishing a creditable sixth in the Albert Bartlett, the McNeill Family’s Shantou gelding got back to winning ways at Perth a week ago under Adrian Heskin.

WATCH: THREEUNDERTHRUFIVE GIVES PAUL NICHOLLS HIS 172ND WINNER FOR THE SEASON, A NEW RECORD FOR THE DITCHEAT TRAINER [CREDIT: RACING TV]

Nicholls went onto record four more victories for the season later in the week.

Greaneteen | bet365 Celebration Chase (Grade 1) | Saturday 24th April 2021

A fitting way to cap off the season on Saturday, Nicholls celebrated success in the sole Grade 1 on the card as his Great Pretender representative put in a superb display to see off the legendary Altior under Bryony Frost.

watch: greaneteen takes the celebration at sandown [credit: racing tv]

The Haldon Cup winner ran a cracker in the Champion Chase in March but went three places better in Surrey to secure a first top-class success.

Bryony Frost riding Greaneteen on their way to winning The bet365 Celebration Chase at Sandown Park Racecourse, Esher

Dominic Chapman is senior content writer at Low6 with a passion for horse racing. He provides a NAP and NB every day throughout the week on selected National Hunt and Flat cards in both Britain and Ireland. Additionally, he hosts the Paddock Picks Podcast with former Welsh Grand National-winning pilot, Charlie Poste - the pair interviewing and discussing current racing topics with a special guest every week.

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