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Paul Nicholls Stable Tour 2023/24 - Key quotes from the Champion Trainer

20 Oct 2023
Jon Vine 20 Oct 2023
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  • Key quotes from Paul Nicholls' stable tour
  • Nicholls ran through all of his stars for the 2023/24 season with AtTheRaces
  • Get updates on Bravemansgame, Stage Star and Stay Away Fay and many more
  • All quotes taken from AtTheRaces
paul nicholls trainer
Trainer Paul Nicholls (L) celebrates alongside Harry Cobden on board Stage Star after winning the Turners Novices Chase. (Getty)
    Paul Nicholls Stable Tour 23/24
  • 🌟 Stable Stars 🌟
  • Bravemansgame
  • Greaneteen
  • Stage Star
  • Stay Away Fay
  • ➡️ Novice Hurdlers
  • Captain Teague
  • Farnoge
  • Fire Flyer
  • Florencethemachine
  • Il Pino
  • Inthewaterside
  • Irando Has
  • Larchmont Lass
  • Meatloaf
  • Tarras Wood
  • Wrappedupinmay
  • ➡️ Juveniles
  • Liari
  • ➡️ Older Hurdlers
  • Afadil
  • Blueking D'oroux
  • Hacker Des Places
  • Irish Hill
  • Rubaud
  • ➡️ Novice Chasers
  • Beau Balko
  • Ginny's Destiny
  • Henri The Second
  • Hermes Allen
  • Hugos New Horse
  • Iceo
  • Knappers Hill
  • Lallygag
  • Makin'yourmindup
  • Monmiral
  • Shearer
  • Sonigino
  • Tahmuras
  • ➡️ Older Chasers
  • Complete Unknown
  • Flash Collonges
  • Flic Ou Voyou
  • Frodon
  • Il Ridoto
  • Pic D'orhy
  • ➡️ Bumper Horses
  • Captain Bellamy
  • Histrionic
  • Joyau Allen
  • Quebecois
  • Regent's Stroll
  • Rickety Bridge
  • Touquet
  • Waynes World
  • Welcome To Cartries

Ahead of the new National Hunt season, Champion Trainer Paul Nicholls walked AtTheRaces through his stable for the 2023/24 season.

Here's the full Paul Nicholls stable tour. All quotes taken from AtTheRaces.

Paul Nicholls Stable Tour 2024/24

🌟 Stable Stars 🌟


We tweaked a few things with his training routine last season, and he fulfilled our ambitions for him and developed into one of the best staying chasers in Britain. Bravemangame made an impressive return in the Charlie Hall, and he went on from there and provided us with a 13th King George winner at Kempton on Boxing Day with a slick display of jumping. We purposely didn’t give him a trial for the Gold Cup as I wanted him fresh for the day and I had little doubt that he would get home over the extra two and a half furlongs, but he came up against an absolute superstar in Galopin Des Champs. 

An ownership wrangle ruled him out of Aintree but that was sorted before Punchestown, and he put another great display. His big three targets will be the King George VI Chase, Cheltenham Gold Cup and Punchestown Gold Cup and he would probably start off in the Charlie Hall again or the Betfair Chase. He is a cracking horse to have around, and I think there’s a lot more to come from him.


His victory in the Haldon Gold Cup last season when conceding at least a stone to his four rivals didn’t surprise me. He had been working very nicely at home. He didn’t get his head in front after and was unable to win the Celebration Chase at Sandown for a third year running as he wasn’t at his best. He will return in either the Haldon Gold Cup or the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham and we could well step him up in distance.

Stage Star

He won over fences in minor company at Warwick and Plumpton then earned a shot at the Turners Novices’ at the Festival when carrying topweight to victory in the Timeform Novices’ Handicap Chase at Cheltenham on Trials Day. He will have to improve again to mix it with the best this season and may not be the easiest to place but I hope he proves good enough to earn a shot at the Ryanair in the spring. He loves Cheltenham, loves going left-handed and we will enter him in the Paddy Power Gold Cup.

Stay Away Fay

He had been a big weak individual at home and his work hadn’t been particularly exciting, but he was different gravy when he got to the track and won the Newbury novices’ hurdle in which we had won previously with Bravemansgame and Stage Star. He lost out narrowly to Maximillian in the River Don at Doncaster which I thought he should have won and earned his place at Cheltenham. I thought he had an each-way chance, and he showed how good a stayer he was when coming out on top from Affordable Fury. 

That race may have left its mark at Aintree, but he will go over fences this season. He should hopefully be up there with the best in the staying novice chase division and could start in a novice chase on Haldon Gold Cup Day at Exeter.

Harry Cobden riding Bravemansgame (orange) clear the last to win The Ladbrokes King George VI Chase at Kempton Park. (Getty)

➡️ Novice Hurdlers

Captain Teague

He was our leading bumper horse last season and is a very exciting prospect for novice hurdles. The form of his Plumpton bumper worked out well and we put him away for Cheltenham and he ran the race of his life to finish third. Hopefully, he can be a top-notch novice hurdler this season and he made a very bright start to his hurdling career in the Persian War at Chepstow on Friday. His long-term aim would be along the lines of the Challow Hurdle at Newbury.


He won his only start for us in a bumper at Uttoxeter in March and we have been in no rush with him. He is a half-brother to Fred Winter winner High Hawk, and he should have a bright future now he goes hurdling.

Fire Flyer

He won at Ascot very impressively and you can put a line through his performance in a listed bumper at Newbury in February. His schooling has been very good, and we are looking forward to seeing him in novice hurdles.


She was bought by Tom Malone at the Cheltenham Festival April Sale. She is from a smart family, and she made a creditable start to her hurdling career when runner-up at Chepstow on Friday.

Il Pino

He won his point-to-point at Chaddesley Corbett for Will Biddick, and he looks a nice prospect. He’ll go novice hurdling.


He is a massive horse, and he took me by surprise when winning on his debut in a bumper at Exeter in December and probably even more so when following up at Sandown in February. He looks a very smart prospect for novice hurdles.

Irando Has

He is a wonderful looking horse who was beaten a beck in the Listed Prix Finot at Auteuil. He was in training with us in the spring but was big and backward, so we just gave him time. He goes novice hurdling this autumn and hopefully can repay the patience.

Larchmont Lass

She is a lovely Walk In The Park filly who won a listed bumper at Sandown last March when just getting up on the line. She is going to go mares’ novices’ hurdles this year and should be quite smart over two and a half miles.


He did well in bumper company last season and is half-brother to Thyme White who sadly died last season. He goes novice hurdling now and is a horse I like.

Tarras Wood

He is a horse I like, and he had to overcome greenness when winning his bumper at Wetherby over Christmas. He got a bit lonely in front and hung across the track, but he will come on a lot for that experience. We backed off with him as he suffered from sore shins, but he should do well in novice hurdles.


He came to us with a big reputation after winning his only point-to-point and did nothing to dispel that impression when hacking up in his bumper at Exeter on New Year’s Day. Conditions were a little quicker when he finished third to our Inthewaterside at Sandown in February, but he will be one for staying novice hurdles this season. He ran well at Ffos Los on his hurdling debut on Sunday and he’s eventually going to make a lovely chaser.

Stage Star, ridden by Harry Cobden jumps the last fence and runs on to win The Jewson Stratford-Upon-Avon Stan Mellor Memorial Novices' Steeple Chase at Warwick. (Getty)

➡️ Juveniles


He is a juvenile hurdler we bought of the HH Aga Khan privately. He is by Cracksman and a lovely juvenile horse. He has taken to it well and should make a high-ranking juvenile this season.

➡️ Older Hurdlers


Afadil developed into a useful hurdler last season and provided us with our fourth winner in the last ten years in the Scottish Triumph Hurdle. He needed another quick run after that at Haydock to get in the Boodles but ran way below par on that occasion but was more himself when eighth at Cheltenham. He thrives on his racing, and he ended the season with a comfortable success at Ayr. All ground comes alike to him, and he is the sort that will continue to develop physically. We could start him off in the Greatwood at Cheltenham in November.

Blueking D'oroux

He was very disappointing on his first two starts for us, so we gave him a wind operation and he came back a completely different horse. He won at 50-1 when beating Afadil at Ascot and ran well under a 7lb penalty at Aintree. He looks the sort to keep on improving and the idea is to go for the very valuable handicap hurdle at Ascot just before Christmas.

Hacker Des Places

He is a horse we like, and we were looking to run him in some of them top handicap hurdles, but we had no luck with him. After he had won at Cheltenham in January, we had planned to go for the Betfair Hurdle, but he had legs problems again and that was it for the season. I hope he can contest some of the big handicap hurdles when there is some juice in the ground. He could eventually go over fences.

Irish Hill

He rattled off a hat trick in handicaps in good style at Taunton, Fakenham and Ascot but disappointed in his final two starts at Cheltenham and Aintree Grand National Festival but has gone up 18lb. He will continue over hurdles.


He did very well for us last season and, although he coped with soft, he is ideally suited by quicker ground. He loves to dominate and race on a flat track and Kempton was ideal for him and he also had ideal conditions at Ayr when winning the Scottish Champion Hurdle. He could start off in something like the Elite Hurdle at Wincanton and we will see how that goes. He is going to make a superb chaser and that might well be this season. We will see.

Harry Cobden riding Hermes Allen clear the last to win The Ballymore Novices' Hurdle. (Getty)

➡️ Novice Chasers

Beau Balko

He did well in his first season, and we laid him out for the £100,000 novices’ championship final at Sandown on the final day of the season where he finished a respectable fifth to Nicky Henderson’s Under Control. He made his debut over fences at Ffos Las on Sunday but was a little disappointing and, hopefully, he can put that effort behind him shortly.

Ginny's Destiny

He showed useful form for Tom Lacey in novice hurdles last season and has joined us at Manor Farm. He will go novice chasing and could be an interesting recruit to that division.

Henri The Second

He is a big strong horse who is a half-brother to Enrilo who was an out and out stayer over fences. He is very much the sort to come into his own over fences and we are looking forward to his chasing career. He will always want plenty of cut in the ground and should have a bright future.

Hermes Allen

He was a surprise package amongst our novice hurdlers last season and looked a natural for the Challow after he had won the Grade 2 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham in November. He put in an awesome display at Newbury, and we fancied him strongly for the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle at the Festival, but he was beaten 21 lengths into sixth by Impaire Et Passe and couldn’t have been at his best. He was in in such good shape we let him take his chance in the Mersey Novices’ and he ran a sound race to finish third. He had his wind done over the summer and he will go novice chasing now. He is not the biggest but he’s very athletic and I don’t see fences being a problem.

Hugos New Horse

He was highly progressive last season and ended up winning five times for us. He might have a run over hurdles in case he looks like developing into a smart staying hurdler but he likely to go novice chasing sooner rather than later. He’s a half-brother to Black Corton and he stays on so well over two and a half miles over hurdles that three miles over fences should easily be within his compass.


We had him spot on for the Imperial Cup and it was very pleasing to see that plan come to fruition. He’s been crying out for fences and was an easy winner over two miles at Newton Abbot recently. He looks an exciting prospect, and he will stay further but we will keep him to two miles for the time being.

Knappers Hill

He had a brilliant season over hurdles in 2022/23 and won the Silver Trophy at Chepstow, the Elite Hurdle at Wincanton and the Select Hurdle at Sandown and never ran a bad race. He is novice chasing this season and ran well when second to very experienced Unexpected Party at Chepstow on Friday. We will see how he is, but he could go for the Rising Stars at Wincanton next. He is very versatile both trip and ground-wise and it will be interesting to see how far he can go over fences.


He enjoyed a great season over hurdles, but he is a full brother to Lalor and will go over fences. We were thinking of starting him off over hurdles in the Silver Trophy at Chepstow, but novice chasing will be his game.


He has improved dramatically with time, and he won three for us last season. Physically he is tailor made for fences, so we are very hopeful.


We were hoping he would develop into one of our leading novice chasers last season, but things didn’t turn out as planned. In hindsight, he had three very stiff tasks in his races as Jonbon went onto win the Arkle, The Real Whacker won the Brown Advisory and Gerri Colombe was second in the Brown Advisory. We decided to keep him a maiden for this season and off his mark it could well be worth going for the Paddy Power Gold Cup.


We sent him over fences in the summer and he has made the perfect start winning both his races at Ludlow in May and Aintree in June. He needs good ground, and we will keep him on the go whilst conditions are in his favour and then bring him back in the spring.


He was a highly progressive handicap hurdler last season after we sorted his wind out and he won three for us culminating in a win at Huntingdon in February. He was unlucky at Aintree when finishing fast after being nearly brought down early and he started back in the Silver Trophy. He could potentially be a very good novice chaser and we will think about fences for him now.


L’Astroboy two and a half lengths. “He was a horse that progressed nicely after winning on his hurdling debut at Chepstow in November and won the Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown in January. He proved to be out of his depth in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and then at Aintree, but he looks every inch a chaser and he should do well over fences.

Harry Cobden riding Tahmuras (white cap) clear the last to win The Unibet Tolworth Novices' Hurdle at Sandown Park. (Getty)

➡️ Older Chasers

Complete Unknown

Complete Unknown was never out of the first two in four starts when his attentions were turned to chasing last season. He ran a blinder when we stepped him up in class in the Grade 1 Mildmay at Aintree when finishing second to Gerri Colombe. He is at his most effective on soft or heavy ground and he will be entered in the Coral Gold Cup at Newbury in November. He could start at Newton Abbot on Saturday.

Flash Collonges

He has had a wind operation before the start of last season and had been pretty consistent before beating Sam Barton at Newbury and then was travelling really well when falling eight from the finish in the Scottish National. He is normally a sound jumper and I expect him to make his mark in long distance chases this season with the Ayr National a likely end of season target.

Flic Ou Voyou

His jumping was little sloppy in his first season over fences, but we gave him some intensive schooling prior to his reappearance at Chepstow in October and it paid off when he scored comprehensively. He must have fast ground and it was soft at Plumpton at the off when he was pulled up on his final start.


Frodon has been an absolute legend for all of us at Manor Farm Stables and this will be his final season. He won the Badger Beer last season and that is the plan again. He may have one more after, possibly the Portman Cup at Taunton. Then he will have earned an honourable retirement somewhere.

Il Ridoto

He needs a strongly run race to bring out the best in him and he gained his deserved reward on Trials Day at Cheltenham at the end of January. He looks to be weighted up to his best in handicaps, but he is only six and there may be further improvement to come from him. He might be one to try in conditions races.

Pic D'orhy

It was marvellous to see Pic D’Orhy make the breakthrough into Grade 1 company last season, and he is a horse I have always believed in. He was one of our season’s highlights and victories in the Peterborough Chase and Silviniaco Conti confirmed to us he was on the upgrade. He could not cope with a back to form Shishkin in the Ascot Chase, but he seems better on a flat track and we had him fresh and well for the Marsh Chase at Aintree. He stayed on well to defy Fakir D’oudairies his hat-trick in the race last season. I think he will stay three miles and he will be given an entry in the King George, but we will stick to two and a half miles for the time being and he will follow a similar route to last season.

Bryony Frost celebrates after riding Frodon to win The Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham Racecourse on March 14, 2019. (Getty)

➡️ Bumper Horses

Captain Bellamy

Captain Bellamy is a highly regarded recruit from Ireland and was a very impressive winner of his maiden point-to-point at Dromahane in April. He is well related and from the family of Gordon Elliott’s Grade 1 winning novice hurdler Three Stripe Life. He will run in bumpers this season and is one we are really looking forward too.


He was bought at Goffs Punchestown, and he well-bred from a strong staying family we know well. He will have a quiet first season and run in his bumpers, but he looks one to wait for when he goes hurdling in a year’s time.

Joyau Allen

He is a half-brother to Envoi Allen who won the Ryanair Chase, and he will run in a couple of bumpers this season.


He is related to stacks of winners including Albert Bartlett winner Brindisi Breeze and he was bought at the Tattersalls Cheltenham Festival Sale in March. He will start off in bumpers and will hopefully do well for us.

Regent's Stroll

He is a four-year-old we bought at the sales. He is a lovely individual, and we are looking forward to running in his bumpers.

Rickety Bridge

He was a comfortable winner of his only point-to-point at Ottery St Mary and ran well when failing by a short head at Worcester last week. Hopefully, he can go one better in a similar event shortly.


He is another lovely horse we bought at the sales, and he is doing everything right at home. He is one to keep an eye on in his bumpers.

Waynes World

He would have won at Dromahane but for unseating at the last and we bought him at Goffs UK Aintree Sale. He will start in bumpers this season.

Welcome To Cartries

He was the easy winner of his maiden point-to-point in Ireland, and I am looking forward to seeing him in action in bumpers.

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