Monday 11 December 2017

Maguire mulls over training exit as 'Dandy' calls time

Noel Meade has ruled out his top staying chaser Road to Riches of the Gold Cup. Photo: Sportsfile
Noel Meade has ruled out his top staying chaser Road to Riches of the Gold Cup. Photo: Sportsfile

Johnny Ward

David 'Dandy' Nicholls, best known for his training of some top-class sprinters, is to retire from training.

The Yorkshire man rode over 400 winners. He trained the likes of Continent, Bahamian Pirate, Regal Parade and Ya Malak, which created history when ridden by Nicholls' wife, Alex Greaves, as she became the first female rider to win a Group One in Britain, dead-heating with Coastal Bluff at York in 1997.

Nicholls, 60, began training in 1992 but has endured a lean spell.

He tweeted: "Sovereign Debt was our last runner from Tall Trees, as due to financial problems we have had to cease training. It was nice to go out on a high during what has been a difficult time (and) I'd like to thank all our owners that have supported us."

Adrian Maguire, who has thought in recent years about moving to England, admitted after saddling Knockraha Pylon to win at Thurles yesterday that he is contemplating quitting too.

"Things are getting tougher and tougher for everyone training horses and (I) just can't make ends meet now. It's costing me money to be training horses," Maguire, 45, told At The Races.

"I've no other choice (but to think of handing in his training licence). It's just not happening. If something is costing you money, you can't be doing it. I've five paying horses. That's what I'm down to and I'm open to offers, obviously in some aspect with horses, a role.

"It's getting tougher. I'm not the only one, but that's the way it is with me."

Injuries

The Co Meath native returned home to Ireland to train following his recovery from serious injuries sustained in a bad fall at Warwick in 2002 that ended his riding career, after he had ridden more than 1,000 winners.

Meanwhile, Noel Meade has ruled his top staying chaser, Road To Riches, out of the Timico Gold Cup this day week. The Gigginstown-owned son of Gamut, which has had injury issues this season, has encountered another setback. "He has an internal problem and I am not sure if he'll run again this season," Meade said.

Meade said of his other Cheltenham Festival runners: "I haven't spoken to Eddie (O'Leary, Gigginstown Stud racing manager) yet, but I'm pretty sure Measureofmydreams will run in the handicap chase (Ultima) on the first day. The plan is still for Disko to go for the JLT, and A Genie In Abottle for the (National Hunt Chase). Snow Falcon is in great form and goes for the (Sun Bets Stayers' Hurdle)."

Meade was speaking at Thurles races, where JJ Slevin - who had been out of action since suffering fractured ribs and a bruised kidney in a fall at Gowran on February 18 - rode 12/1 shot Coole Craft to win the two-mile handicap hurdle.

There was good news too for Andrew Lynch, who yesterday got the all-clear to return from injury, which he does at Ayr today with two rides for Stephen Crawford. Lynch has confirmed he will now be in action at the Cheltenham Festival. The hard-working Meath rider has been out for nearly seven months. He is to team up with trainer Peter Maher in the Glenfarclas Cross-Country Chase on Wednesday.

Last season's champion two-year-old Churchill heads 129 hopefuls for the Investec Derby following the scratchings deadline, though it remains questionable as to whether the brilliant son of Galileo will stretch out to the mile and a half or not.

The Aidan O'Brien-trained colt tops the ante-post market for both the Derby and the Qipco 2,000 Guineas after a superb 2016 that saw him win five of his six starts, culminating in the Dubai Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket.

O'Brien has won the Derby five times and has 27 remaining entries.

Veteran rider Robert Havlin has failed in his attempt to overturn a six-month ban handed down by France Galop following a positive test for a cocktail of five banned substances returned at Saint-Cloud last October.

Irish Independent

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