National Hunt Trainers

National Hunt Trainers

We have put together a few profiles on some of the top National Hunt trainers in the horse racing world, hoping to give the reader some idea on what trainers to follow during the National Hunt season. There are many good trainers of course but the real top trainers are those who train winners of the major races and the major festivals. We start with the current Champion trainer Paul Nicholls.

Paul Nicholls

Paul NichollsFollowing a riding career in which he rode 130 winners, including the winners of the Welsh Grand National and the Hennessey Gold Cup, Paul Nicholls gained his trainers license in 1991. Success soon followed, but it was the feat of training three winners at the Cheltenham Festival in 1999, when the National Hunt world really began to take note. One of his wins that year was the Cheltenham Gold Cup which was won by his stable star at the time, See More Business.

Nicholls has gone on to train some of the best chasers seen in the UK, he won the Queen Mother Champion Chase in 2004 with Azertyuiop having won the Arkle Challenge Trophy with the same horse at the Cheltenham Festival twelve months earlier. The master at Ditcheat followed up Azertyuiop’s win with three more Festival winners, in the form of Earthmover, St Pirran and Sporazene.

Other top-class horses trained by Paul include Ad Hoc, Cenkos, Venn Ottery and the impressive 2003 Hennessy Gold Cup winner Strong Flow. More recently Paul Nicholls trained both of the incredible duo Denman and Kauto Star who had magnificent seasons in 2007/08, culminating in a high profile 1-2-3 in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, in which Denman proved to be near unstoppable in winning the great race from Kauto Star, who had won the race a year earlier and Neptune Collonges.

Nicky Henderson

Nicky HendersonNicky Henderson has been one of Britain’s leading jumps trainers for many years and has won most of the Blue Riband races. These have included the Champion Hurdle (three times), the Queen Mother Champion Chase and the Stayers' Hurdle (twice).

He was once assistant trainer to the late great Fred Winter and it was this relationship that prompted Henderson to take out his own license. His first winner as a trainer was at Kempton Park in 1972, with a horse called Happy Warrior and he has since many top horses such as See You Then, who won the Champion Hurdle Betting three times in the mid 80s; Remittance Man is another who he had great success with. He won the 1991 Arkle Challenge Trophy and the 1992 Queen Mother Champion Chase, both of course at the at Cheltenham Festival.

Phillip Hobbs

Phillip Hobbs was a professional jockey between 1975 and 1986, during which time he rode 160 winners. Having always had the ambition to develop a career in training, he gained his license 1985. Success quickly followed when his very first runner, North Yard, won at Exeter later that year. The Phillip Hobbs yard is now one of the most respected in the country and he has saddled many winners of blue riband races.

His most notable horse was the incredible Rooster Booster. He won the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and was runner up in the same race the following year. In spite of this, Philip describes the classy hurdler, Supreme Prince, as his favourite horse.Probably his greatest training feat was the day Aal El Llal won a bumper at Perth – it was his first run after being off course injured for over six months.