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Nicholls into an elite club


Trainer Paul Nicholls

Trainer Paul Nicholls

Trainer Paul Nicholls

The Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle last Saturday got a lot of publicity for a number of reasons. For a Grade One Champion Hurdle trial it lacked its most important ingredient and that was a real Champion Hurdle contender.

Paul Nicholls will be hoping that Irving can go on and make a mockery of that statement but with Hurricane Fly, Jezki, The New One and Faugheen all around, it won't happen I'm afraid.

Irving will always hold a special place with Nichols, though, as he was the horse that provided the trainer with his 100th Grade One victory and that is an incredible achievement for any trainer, given just how competitive things are now. When the big guns of Kauto Star, Denman and Big Buck's were all retired some suggested Nicholls would struggle, but far from it.

Just in case you are wondering, though, Willie Mullins is well into his second hundred and Sunday's Grade One double at Fairyhouse brought him up to 122.