Paul Nicholls, born in 1962, grew up in the village of Olveston near Bristol. From hunting and pony racing he went into full-time employment with horses at the age of 16 when he went to work at Dick Baimbridge’s yard and started riding in local point-to-points.
In 1981 Nicholls took up a Pupil Assistant’s job with Kevin Bishop whilst continuing to ride in point-to-points for local Trainers John Thorne and Les Kennard and a year later he turned conditional and moved to Josh Gifford’s for two years before finally settling at David Barons’ Devon base in 1984 for seven years in total.
He’s got great form, he’s been placed in Gold Cups, he stays, he’s genuine and Daryl gave him a fantastic ride. It’s absolutely brilliant.
He stayed on at Barons’ stable as Assistant Trainer for a further two years before leaving to set up on his own not long after Seagram had won the Grand National for Barons in 1991.
After replying to an advert placed in the Sporting Life by Paul Barber in June 1991, Paul received his Trainer’s license on 1 November 1991 and took over the running of Manor Farm Stables at Ditcheat for his new Landlord. With only eight horses, Nicholls started his business and, Olveston, who was owned by his parents, would become his first winner at Hereford in December 1991.
In 1999 Nicolls took, not only his first Cheltenham Gold Cup with See More Business, but also the Champion Chase with Call Equiname and The Arkle Trophy with Flagship Uberalles.
And with his eyes firmly fixed on becoming Champion Trainer, having been runner up to his main rival legendary Trainer Martin Pipe for no less than seven seasons in a row, success finally came for the first time in season 2005-2006.
Manor Farm Stables is one of the most individually successful training establishments in the country with four Cheltenham Gold Cup’s, four Champion Chases, a remarkable seven King George V Chases and numerous other Group 1 victories have all subsequently gone towards collecting seven Champion Trainers’ titles for Paul Nicholls.
And in 2012, the one prize that had eluded Nicholls and his team for his entire career was finally his – the Grand National! He won it with an 11 year old, heavily weighted, grey, french horse called Neptune Collonges proving that against all the statistical odds, when you’re a great trainer you can do anything!