Good day for Nicholls as he closes gap on Mullins


Paul Nicholls added more than £20,000 to his total on Friday


PAUL NICHOLLS has not given up hope of retaining his trainers’ title and enjoyed a profitable afternoon on Friday as he reduced Willie Mullins’ lead by £19,338.25.

The largest chunk of Friday’s earnings came courtesy of Orbasa, who found only Definitly Red too good in the Listed Hillhouse Quarry Handicap Chase at Ayr.

Orbasa travelled powerfully into contention under Sam Twiston-Davies and momentarily looked like getting the better of the 7-4 favourite but had to make do with the £9,616.50 prize for second.

Chipping away at Fontwell

If Nicholls is to stage a dramatic comeback, he will surely need to claim big pots like Saturday’s Coral Scottish Grand National but every little helps and he secured a double at Fontwell.

Saint Roque claimed the novices’ chase, before Red Hanrahan landed the novices’ hurdle, the pair adding £5,049.45 and £3,898.80 respectively to the Ditcheat team’s total.

Howlongisafoot also did his bit, taking second in the handicap chase at and adding a further £1,928.50.

Where the money was won

2.10 Fontwell – Saint Roque, 1st, £5,049.45
2.45 Fontwell – Red Hanrahan, 1st, £3,898.80
3.20 Fontwell – Howlongisafoot, 2nd, £1,928.50
3.45 Ayr – Orbasa, 2nd, £9,616.50

Total = £20,493.25

Updated totals

Despite Nicholls’ successes on Friday, Mullins still holds a commanding lead of £132,481 over the reigning champion.

He added £1,155 to his tally on Friday as Valyssa Monterg ran fourth in the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle at Ayr.

Mullins has amassed £2,228,035 to Nicholls’ £2.094,397.


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