Where, and when, was Nico de Boinville born?
Nico de Boinville – whose full name is Nicolai W. Chastel de Boinville – may find his French heritage difficult to disguise, but he was, in fact, born in Baughurst, Hampshire on August 14, 1989.
Many of his ancestors, who were landed gentry from Lorraine, in northeastern France, were sent to the guillotine during the French Revolution. One of them, Jean Baptiste de Boinville – who served as aide-de-camp to the Marquis de Lafayette – escaped and sought political exile in London in 1789 after his estates were confiscated by the Revolutionary Government.
Privately educated at Bradfield College, Berkshire, Nico de Boinville renewed his French connection by spending his gap year working for Chantilly trainer Richard Gibson, en route to Newcastle-upon-Tyne University. However, the rigours of academic life were not for him and, after just six weeks, he dropped out of his politics course in favour of a riding career.
A handful of rides for his uncle, Patrick Chamings, and Andrew Balding yielded his first winner, Western Roots, in an amateur riders’ handicap at Newbury in August, 2008 and he was on his way. The following summer, de Boinville approached Lambourn trainer Nicky Henderson, who offered him work, but no guarantee of race rides.
The rest, as they say, is history. After a slow start, de Boinville gradually increased his winning tally season-by-season and, in 2014, turned professional. On Boxing Day that year, he rode his first Grade 1 winner, Coneygree, in the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton and completed a notable double when winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup on the same horse the following March.