Nicholls' mark etched in Stone

That Paul Nicholls, the champion jumps trainer for the past six seasons, would reach the milestone of 2,000 winners this term was only a matter of when, not if. The moment came yesterday and the name in the record books will be that of Kauto Stone, who is, serendipitously, the younger sibling of the best horse Nicholls has ever trained, Kauto Star.

Kauto Stone's victory at Down Royal, on his first run since joining Nicholls' Somerset stable from his native France, would have been noteworthy as a stand-alone performance, even without its talismanic tag. But it was merely one highlight on an afternoon that his pragmatic trainer, first and foremost a businessman, will surely remember warmly, even if only as a day's work thoroughly well done.

Half of the 14 runners sent out yesterday from Manor Farm won at three different meetings, three were secondand one third. And the first of the seven to score might, nominally at least, be considered approval of Nicholls' careerso far. That'lldoboy.

Twenty years after starting out with eight horses under his care, Nicholls now has some 160 and has won nearlyevery major contest in the calendar. "It's great to get the 2,000 up," he said after watching Kauto Stone's success, "and it's all down to the fantastic team I have back home at Ditcheat. And landmarks are always something to aim for but the next target is the 2001st winner." That came when The Minack took the afternoon's feature chase at Wincanton, beating his stablemate Meanus Dandy for good measure.

Nicholls' quest for a seventh title is perceived as under threat from Nicky Henderson this season, given that his established celebrities, like Kauto Star and Denman, are past their best and that this season his unproven youth squad is his largest-ever.

But if Kauto Stone is an example, then the future is in safe hoofs. The neat, unflashy chestnut five-year-old is, as an individual, as unlike his older half-brother as can be. With his jumping slick, extravagant, cat-like and clever, as required, he had too much class and pace. "He was cantering from four out," reported rider Paul Carberry.

Nicholls' tally at his local track included another five-year-old, Silviniaco Conti, who jumped like an old hand to take the Grade 2 novices' chase at his leisure and one of the older brigade, Celestial Halo, who took the Elite Hurdle by a wide margin after the young Henderson hope Grandouet came down two out after being thoroughly half-lengthed by his more experienced rival.

The winner of the JNWine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal, Quito De La Roque, is now as short as 10-1 for the Cheltenham Gold Cup. The Colm Murphy-trained seven-year-old caught Sizing Europe in the last few strides of Northern Ireland's Grade 1 showpiece, largely thanks to rider Davy Russell's perseverance in the saddle.

Quito De La Roque, one of last season's best staying novices, seemed out of it as Sizing Europe and The Nightingale, the Nicholls contender, pulled clear. But as the leaders efforts in testing ground began to take their toll, he caught the exhausted two-mile champion – also runner-up last year, to Kauto Star – with a length to spare.

At Doncaster Zuider Zee romped home in the Betfred November Handicap to maintain John Gosden's excellent record on Town Moor. His son of Sakhee was never too far off the pace under Robert Havlin, moved through to challenge with three furlongs to run and saw off Willing Foe easily.

Though Paul Hanagan left the final fixture of the domestic Flat turf season at Doncaster with nothing to add to his tally of 165 winners he was able to celebrate the defence of his jockeys' championship early in the day, once Silvestre de Sousa, four behind him at start of play, failed on the first of his four rides. "It was a long haul," said Hanagan, "but I learned a lot from last year and I enjoyed it all a bit more this time."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Life and Style
President Obama, one of the more enthusiastic users of the fist bump
science
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Griffin holds forth in The Simpsons Family Guy crossover episode
tv
Life and Style
Upright, everything’s all right (to a point): remaining on one’s feet has its health benefits – though in moderation
HealthIf sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
News
Kristen Stewart and Rupert Sanders were pictured embracing in 2012
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

HSE Manger - Solar

£40000 - £45000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: HSE Mana...

Data Governance Manager (Solvency II) – Contract – Up to £450 daily rate, 6 month (may go Permanent)

£350 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently looking...

Powertrain Design Engineer

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: I hope you are well. My client based in ...

Java Developer - Banking - London - Up to £560/day

£500 - £560 per day: Orgtel: Java Developer FX - Banking - London - Up to £560...

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried