Which horse was Paul Nicholls’ first Cheltenham Festival winner?
Paul Nicholls, who won the National Hunt Trainers’ Championship for the twelfth time in 2020/21, began his training career at Manor Farm Stables in Ditcheat, Somerset in 1991. Within six years of being granted a licence, he had established himself as an up-and-coming trainer, but finally hit the big time when winning the King George VI Chase at Kempton with See More Business on Boxing Day, 1997.
As far as the Cheltenham Festival was concerned, it would not be until 1999 that Nicholls his first winner, but when he did take his seat at the top table of National Hunt trainers he did so in some style. Nicholls opened his account with Flagship Uberalles in the Arkle Challenge Trophy but, during a memorable week, quickly added Call Equiname in the Queen Mother Champion Chase and See More Business in the Cheltenham Gold Cup to his winning tally. In fact, those three winners were sufficient to win him the leading trainer award for the first time.
At the last count, Nicholls had saddled 46 winners at the Cheltenham Festival and won the leading trainer award six times. He has won all four main ‘championship’ races at least once and, alongside Tom Dreaper and Nicky Henderson, is jointly the leading trainer in the history of the Queen Mother Champion Chase with six wins.