In review – Paul Nicholls’ five-timer at Sandown


In review: Paul Nicholls’ five-timer at Sandown

There were celebrations aplenty earlier this month for trainer Paul Nicholls. Not only did the Ditcheat-based handler celebrate his 60th birthday two weeks ago, but last weekend, he was also crowned Champion Jump Trainer – for a 13th time – landing an epic five wins on the final day of the season, at Sandown.

With the attention now turning to the flat season, beginning with the Guineas Festival at Newmark, what better time to check the latest Betdaq horse racing betting odds and remind ourselves of Nicholls’ successes at Sandown. It also proved a Super Saturday for stable jockey Harry Cobden, who was in the saddle for four of the five wins – and who ended the season oh-so-close to 100 winners, but landed 99 race wins.

Knappers Hill: Novices’ Championship Final Handicap Hurdle

After a disappointing race in the GBF at Sandown just last month, the 3/1 favourite redeemed himself, landing back-to-back GGB wins – and proved too hot to handle for the rest of the bumper field in the day’s offering, also marking a winning start for Cobden. While Knappers Hill was conceded over 6lb over many of his rivals, he underlined his quality – and despite a mistake when four out, pushed on around the bend and coasted to a four-and-a-half length victory over Boombawn, with Alto Alto finishing a further half a length behind.

Saint Calvados: Oaksey Chase

A sizzling display from Saint Calvados landed Nicholls a third successive win in the Oaksey Chase. Set out as the even-money favourite, Cobden rode the nine-year-old into a commanding 10-length lead over Nicky Henderson’s Mr Fisher, ridden by Nico de Boinville. Despite a mistake at the Railway Fences on the second circuit, the duo were in complete control and went over the line 16 lengths clear of the nearest challenger.

Greaneteen: Celebration Chase

There certainly were celebrations when Nicholls made it three from three, also adding to his tally in Grade 1 events – with Greaneteen returning to form at the right time. The eight-year-old won last year’s Celebration Chase, beating Altior, but had recently been well beaten at Leopardstown. Cobden, riding Greaneteen, had tracked stablemate Rouge Vif in the early stages, but was going well when three out. Nube Negra threatened but made a mistake at the last, almost dismounting Harry Skelton. Two final decisive jumps saw Greaneteen race clear and finish 12 lengths ahead of Sceau Royal.

McFabulous: Select Hurdle

Fresh from placing in the Aintree Hurdle, Lorcan Williams was in the saddle, as McFabulous won the Grade 2 Select Hurdle. The 4/1 shout was in a field of four, and was always doing enough to win – finishing a length ahead of Indefatigable, while stablemate Scaramanga (ridden by Cobden) could only finish in fourth, over six lengths ahead of the winner. After the race, the jockey said:

“He is a very talented horse and he has had a stop-start season but he has put it all together today.”

Samarrive: Handicap Hurdle

Nicholls’ final win of the day came in the Handicap Hurdle – with Samarrive also making amends for his previous outing at Sandown. The five-year-old was prominent after the third, and pressed the leader Call Me Lord (Nicky Henderson) when two out. Samarrive led at the last, and Cobden continued to push on, while his rivals weakened – with the gelding winning by five lengths clear of Kamaxos.