Paul Nicholls reflects on 2017 Cheltenham Festival
Last Updated: 19/03/17 1:23pm
Paul Nicholls was delighted to have had a winner for the 15th successive year at the Cheltenham Festival when Pacha Du Polder landed the St James's Place Foxhunter Chase on the fourth and final day.
The Ditcheat handler was also chuffed with Saphir Du Rheu, who was a creditable fifth in the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup and will be aimed at the Randox Health Grand National.
Nicholls said: "That is 15 years on the trot we have had a winner at the Festival.
"We've had 41 now, which is one more than Fulke Walwyn and only Willie Mullins and Nicky Henderson have trained more. We have 13 years to catch up with Nicky!
"It was a funny old week. A lot of the horses were not quite good enough, but they have all come back safe and sound. It was great to see Pacha win.
"We were all on a buzz from Saphir in the Gold Cup and he will head to the Grand National now."
Nicholls will turn his attention back to the race for the trainers' championship after his great rival Nicky Henderson ended the week with a handy lead following three winners at Cheltenham.
He said: "We will have a bit of light-hearted fun with Nicky now for the next six weeks. He is in front, but it can swing round quite easily.
"Nicky is a good man and a good trainer, so we will see what happens.
"A lot of ours want better ground so we should have a lot for Aintree and Ayr.
"Clifford Baker (head lad) and me really want to beat our previous record of 155 winners (in 2008-9). We are nearly at £2million in prize-money now so it hasn't been too shabby. For us to get our record number of winners, that would be brilliant."
Henderson is enjoying a break in St Moritz, but his assistant Toby Lawes said: "When the boss found out on Friday morning that he was in front, he is now very keen to give it a good shot.
"Hopefully we will bring out some more big guns at Aintree and Sandown."