Paul Nicholls© Photo Healy Racing
Paul Nicholls reached a landmark 3,000th career success under all disciplines in Great Britain and Europe when Capitaine landed the Greene King Handicap Hurdle at Taunton.
The 10-time champion trainer has won virtually every major race over jumps, including the Grand National and Cheltenham Gold Cup, since taking out a licence in 1991.
Nicholls had shown his team was in fine form, as next month’s Festival approaches, with a career-best eight winners in one day at three meetings on Saturday.
His domestic tally over jumps is now 2,960 — while 25 victories over in Ireland, four in France, plus 11 on the Flat, have taken him to 3,000.
Nicholls tweeted a picture from the Taunton winners’ enclosure, adding: “Well done Megan (Nicholls, daughter) and Capitaine, winner number 3000, 2960 UK jumps, 25 Ire jumps, 4 Fr jumps, 11 flat. Massive thank you to everyone who has been involved in the journey.”
Capitaine (3-1 favourite) did the business with a professional performance — after initially being a little reluctant to line-up.
The grey went on to lead at the second-last flight and outpoint Sternrubin by a length and a half under stable jockey Harry Cobden.
“Luckily I had (assistant trainer) Harry (Derham) down there at the start to make sure he started. He’s a tough customer to train,” Cobden told Racing TV.
“He’s travelled extremely well ,and it was as much as I could do to hold on to him the whole way. He quickened up nicely in the straight — he’s going the right way again now.
“Paul was saying he might go for the boys’ race (Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle) at the Festival.
“I’m sure he’ll give one of the lads a good ride in that.”