Willie Mullins and Paul Nicholls: fighting it out for championship glory
PICTURE: RP GRAPHICS
REIGNING British champion trainer Paul Nicholls goes into the final day of the season with a lead in excess of £50,000 from Willie Mullins, as the championship battle reaches a fascinating climax.
On the penultimate day of the season the pair traded blows, with Mullins making a near £10,000 dent when his only runner of the day at Perth won, but Nicholls hit back at Chepstow in the evening.
Nicholls, who is seeking a tenth title, tops the current standings by £52,830 as Ruben Cotter’s victory offset the impact of Rolly Baby’s earlier success for Mullins.
Mullins elected to cherrypick the 2m4f novices’ handicap chase at Perth on Friday with Rolly Baby, and the 11-year-old did not disappoint when collecting first, and adding £9,097.20 to the coffers.
However, Nicholls sent four runners to Chepstow’s twilight card, and Rainy City nearly won a division of the 2m3½f novices’ hurdle, but was a narrow third having fluffled the final hurdle.
More drama ensued in the second division as Simon Squirrel led at the last, but the odds-on favourite fell fatally, handing victory to Curious Carlos and robbing Nicholls of a potential £3,898.80 boost.
Prize-money totals at start of racing 23.4.16
The final day of the season at Sandown is brimming with riches, including the Grade 1 bet365 Celebration Chase, and the Grade 3 bet365 Gold Cup.
Both trainers are going full-bore, with Mullins sending a squadron of ten, including Vroum Vroum Mag, Valseur Lido and Un De Sceaux.
Nicholls however has nearly double the firepower of Mullins, albeit some of his runners are big prices, with 19 horses spread across the seven races.
Nicholls: Tommy Silver
Mullins: Voix Du Reve
Nicholls: Rocky Creek, Saphir Du Rheu, Wonderful Charm Mullins: Ballycasey, Valseur Lido
Nicholls: Dodging Bullets, Solar Impulse, Ulck Du Lin
Mullins: Un De Sceaux
Nicholls: Just A Par, Southfield Theatre
Mullins: Measureofmydreams, Sir Des Champs
Nicholls: Ptit Zig, San Benedeto, Silsol
Mullins: Vroum Vroum Mag
Nicholls: As De Mee, Calipto, Some Buckle
Nicholls: Alcala, Chartbreaker, Qualando, Red Hanrahan
Mullins: Bellow Mome, Burgas, McKinley
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