A look back at Paul Nicholls four Gold Cup wins. He is by far one of the most recognizable names in British horse racing and arguably the greatest trainer of the modern era, but Paul Nicholls’ four Gold Cup wins really make him stand out from the crowd.
To win the showpiece event at Cheltenham Festival just once in a trainer’s career would be considered a huge success, but to win it four times will catapult you into legendary status.
That’s exactly what racing fans would class Nicholls as. He has over 2000 winners to his name alongside a whole host of other prominent victories, including the 2012 Grand National.
Here, we take a look back at Nicholl’s four winners from Cheltenham Festival with his first win in 1999.
See More Business 1999
Nicholls’ first win came 20 years ago now, when See More Business won at odds of 16/1 ahead of Go Ballistic in second. The favourite Florida Pearl came third, a full 17 lengths behind the winner and See More Business received all the praise.
It was a thrilling finale, with 66/1 shot Go Ballistic pushing hard with the posts in sight but eventually losing out by a length. The win was all the more special for Nicholls, who was victorious in the Queen Mother Champion Chase two days previous.
Kauto Star 2007
Jockey Ruby Walsh ensured the legendary Kauto Star was victorious in 2007, although he gave punters – and likely Nicholls – an almighty scare when he nearly fell at the last fence. It was a typical straight forward run for Kauto Star other than that, and the 5/4 favourite finished two-and-a-half lengths ahead of Exotic Dancer and Turpin Green.
“I didn’t notice his mistake at the last! I completely forgot about all the pressure during the race, despite everybody having an opinion on Kauto Star. That is the greatest race and he has won it easily,” Walsh told The Guardian afterwards.
Nicholls claimed his hat-trick of Gold Cup wins in 2008, as Denman beat red hot favourite Kauto Star by seven lengths. Eight-year-old Denman ran a solid race and took the lead on the last circuit and didn’t let go. Punters might have been slightly disappointed, as it was expected that Denman and Kauto Star would go neck and neck but owing to the latter’s mistakes, it didn’t materialize.
“That was brilliant,” said Nicholls. “Going out on the second circuit he was going really well. He’s just good. Neptune Collonges has been improving all the time and Kauto ran a good race too, but they were beaten on the day by a better horse. It’s brilliant for the whole team.”
Kauto Star 2009
Two years on from his first success, Kauto Star took his second Gold Cup and a fourth for Nicholls overall. The nine-year-old looked faultless all the way through, jumping and travelling magnificently as he beat stablemate Denman by 13 lengths.
Naturally, Nicholls was full of praise and credited Denman’s performance as well: “He’s fit, he’s fresh, he was never going to get beat today, but what a race Denman ran. Two weeks ago you’d have drawn stumps. It was a huge run from him and he’ll be back next year.”
It’s been a fruitful period for Nicholls at Cheltenham since the turn of the century, and although he hasn’t had a Gold Cup winner for ten years now, the 56-year-old has four entries ahead of the 2019 showpiece. Take a look at all the ante-post markets here: https://www.betfair.com/exchange/plus/horse-racing.