- Six horses were evacuated from Nicholls’ Highbridge yard on Thursday night
- The champion trainer said water was four feet deep in the flooded stables
- Rain has disrupted racing but competition will take place at Nicholls’ local track
Champion trainer Paul Nicholls said water was four feet deep in flooded stables as his staff scrambled to move some of his horses late on Thursday night in the aftermath of Storm Henk.
Six horses had to be evacuated but Nicholls said their safety was never under threat.
The horses had to be moved from the Highbridge yard where Nicholls lives. It is about a mile away from Nicholls’ main stable in the Somerset village of Ditcheat.
Nicholls said: ‘We had to move half a dozen horses out. I have never seen rain like it yesterday. There was so much water. The nearby river burst its banks and then it all flooded back to the bottom yard near my house.
‘It was about four feet deep in some of the boxes. There were mats, buckets and shavings floating everywhere. I could see it was getting worse through the evening but it all happened about 10.30pm.
Nicholls’ assistant Charlie Davies posted footage of the horses being led to safety
Champion trainer Paul Nicholls said the water was four feet deep in the flooded stables
Six horses had to be evacuated but Nicholls said their safety was never under threat
‘The village was pretty much cut off so there was only (head lad) Clifford (Baker) and my main team who went down there but they quickly sorted it all out.
‘The horses were never in distress but they looked a mess splashing in the water. There was no way we could leave them there overnight so we moved them to a spare yard we have down the road.
‘This morning all the water had gone so we have cleaned everything up and put in fresh bedding and they are back in their boxes already.’
Nicholls’ assistant Charlie Davies posted footage of the horses being led to safety late on Thursday night in the floodwater.
‘The heavy rain caused a few issues last night in Ditcheat. 9.30 pm we had to evacuate 6 horses from our Highbridge yard,’ Davies wrote.
‘Thankfully all the horses are good this morning, the gallops handled the rain well and we were able to exercise all the horses as usual.’
The racing programme has been disrupted by Storm Henk, with Worcester among the racecourses to have been flooded due to heavy rain
The heavy rain has disrupted the racing programme but ironically Wincanton, Nicholls’ local track, has survived and is due to form the centrepiece of Saturday’s ITV coverage.
Nicholls added: ‘Funnily enough, there was so much rain and it was so intense that it washes straight off and doesn’t get a chance to soak in. Today is a beautiful day so it doesn’t surprise me they are racing.’
Saturday’s fixture at Sandown and Sunday’s card at Chepstow have been abandoned while both Stratford and Worcester racecourses are flooded. Next Friday’s meeting at Huntingdon is already in doubt with parts of the track under water.