By Simon Jackson.
Paul Nicholls was quick to pay tribute to the efforts of his stable staff as he was presented with the award for champion national hunt trainer at Sandown.
The championship was the eighth in nine seasons for the Ditcheat handler who amassed prize money of £2,469,893, to finish more that £500,000 clear of last year’s winner Nicky Henderson.
Nicholls reclaimed the title with 118 winners in the UK that included the King George VI Chase with Silviniaco Conti. The championship success was all the more remarkable as long-time assistant trainer Dan Skelton and stable jockey Ruby Walsh had both moved on at the start of the season.
“It is good for the whole team, for all the owners that support us, for everybody that has worked so hard, Clifford [Baker] my head lad – he puts so much into it. It just reflects well on team Ditcheat,” Nicholls said.
“It was a completely new team with Dan and Ruby moving on and a lot of changes and we’ve had an incredible season really. I thought we would have a decent season, obviously as we had nice horses, but I didn’t think we would win the championship so it is fantastic to do it again.”
The presentation for champion trainer was one of several awards celebrated on Saturday that included champion national hunt jockey, which was won by Tony McCoy for the 19th successive season.
“As the official end of the season for UK Jump Racing, today is all about celebrating the end of the season along with some fantastic racing and the winners,” Rupert Trevelyan, regional director of the Jockey Club’s London racecourses said.
“As always, it is a privilege to host the awards ceremony for this year’s Champions, including Champion Jockey and Trainer.”
Read ‘Horse Talk with Simon Jackson’ at London24 for the latest horse racing news.