Gavin Sheehan will NO LONGER ride horses owned by Andrew and Kate Brooks after ‘strange’ performance in the King George VI Chase at Kempton
- Gavin Sheehan will not be on the horses owned by Andrew and Kate Brooks
- He was criticised for his ride on Saint Calvados in the King George VI Chase
- Immediately after the event, Nicholls said Sheehan had ridden a ‘strange race’
- The Paul Nicholls stable confirmed the horses will be ridden by in-house riders
Jockey Gavin Sheehan will no longer be on the horses owned by Andrew and Kate Brooks in the Paul Nicholls stable after he was criticised for his ride on third-placed Saint Calvados in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.
Immediately after the King George, Nicholls said Sheehan had ridden a ‘strange race’ and was in front ‘10 minutes too soon’ after Saint Calvados jumped into the lead at the fourth-last fence.
Nicholls confirmed on Wednesday that from now on the Brooks-owned horses in his care would be ridden by one of his in-house team of riders, starting with novice hurdler Brave Kingdom who is partnered by Harry Cobden at Taunton (1.15) on Thursday.
Jockey Gavin Sheehan will no longer be on the horses owned by Andrew and Kate Brooks
Nicholls said: ‘I told Andrew I wanted my jockeys to be riding the five or six horses he has with me from now on and he said that was fine.
‘If one of my riders is not available, Gavin will be first choice. It is nothing against Gavin’s riding. I just prefer to use my jockeys, simple as that. It is better for the whole team if they are schooling the horses at home and riding them in the races.’
Sheehan had retained the rides on the Brooks horses which were transferred to Nicholls over the summer from the stable of Harry Whittington. They include Simply The Betts, who could run at Cheltenham on Saturday, and Rouge Vif.
Saint Calvados is likely to drop back in distance for his next start with the 2m 5f Grade One Ascot Chase in February pencilled in.
Paul Nicholls (above) confirmed that from now on the Brooks-owned horses in his care would be ridden by one of his in-house team of riders, starting with Brave Kingdom
Nicholls landed the final Grade One of the year in Britain on Wednesday when Cobden-ridden 5-4 favourite Stage Star pulled away for an impressive six-and-a-half length win from West Balboa in the Challow Hurdle at Newbury.
Nicholls had previously won the race with the great Denman and last year with Bravemansgame, and the champion trainer said Stage Star has the attributes to also rate highly.
Nicholls added: ‘He is straightforward and that was a really taking performance. I’m delighted with him. He has just got stronger and better and I can’t believe how much speed he has.’
Bravemansgame, unbeaten in three novice chases this season, followed his Challow Hurdle win with third place to Bob Olinger in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and a shot at that race is on the cards for Stage Star, who is an 8-1 chance with Coral.
Nicholls had won the race with the great Denman and last year with Bravemansgame, and the champion trainer said Stage Star has the attributes to also rate highly
Bravemansgame (file photo above) followed his Challow Hurdle win with third place to Bob Olinger in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival
Meanwhile, Nicky Henderson says the Cotswold Chase on Cheltenham Trials day (January 29) will be where Chantry House will bid to re-establish his Cheltenham Gold Cup credentials after being pulled up in the King George when backed into favouritism.
lSHARJAH made it four wins in the Grade One Matheson Hurdle at Leopardstown on Wednesday to emulate the feat of two hurdling greats — Istabraq and Hurricane Fly. But the Willie Mullins-trained gelding, ridden by son Patrick, had to dig deep to beat Zanahiyr a neck.
Sharjah is likely to bypass the Irish Champion Hurdle in February to head straight to the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham, where he has finished runner-up for the past two seasons.