‘We knew we had Bravemans game at his best’ – Nicholls in King George dreamland | Horse Racing News

Alan Crowhurst

” title=”Bravemansgame is well clear as he wins the King George, giving his trainer Paul Nicholls a 13th win in the race” class=”js-imageLoader” data-at-xn=”https://www.rp-assets .com/images/news/2022/12/26/121150-medium.jpeg” data-br-n=”https://www.rp-assets.com/images/news/2022/12/26/121150- medium.jpeg” data-br-m=”https://www.rp-assets.com/images/news/2022/12/26/121150-large.jpeg” data-br-w=”https:// www.rp-assets.com/images/news/2022/12/26/121150-large.jpeg” data-br-xw=”https://www.rp-assets.com/images/news/2022/12 /26/121150-large.jpeg” onclick=”return false;”>
Bravemansgame is well clear as he wins the King George, giving his trainer Paul Nicholls a 13th win in the race

Bravemansgame is well clear as he wins the King George, giving his trainer Paul Nicholls a 13th win in the race

Alan Crowhurst

By Lewis Porteous

Monday: Ladbrokes King George VI Chase, Kempton

Never mind turkey and crackers, Paul Nicholls made sure Christmas tradition was upheld on Boxing Day as Bravemans game handed the champion trainer a record-extending 13th victory in the Ladbrokes King George VI Chase.

Considering Bravemans game had been as short as 7-4 in the build-up, the only shock to be found at Kempton was the winner’s 11-4 starting price, although his trainer never lost faith in a horse he has always been happy to champion.

At the age of 60, Nicholls credits becoming a father for the fourth time in March as helping to keep him young and, while it has never been questioned, his hunger to remain at the top of a sport he has dominated in Britain over the past two decades was impossible to miss as he reveled in another King George success.

“You set out to try and win these races and it’s absolutely brilliant,” said a jubilant Nicholls. “I love it! You can’t ever look back, you have to always look forward. We like being at the top of our game and I keep saying we’ve only just started.

“You’ve got to have the right horse and he is very good. He was drifting over the last few days, but I kept telling my mates to lump on. He’s not been the easiest to train, but we’ve got him right now and it was great to see him stay on strongly today.”

Doubts about Bravemansgame’s stamina in a hard-run contest over three miles proved unfounded as he traveled comfortably on the tails of the leaders under Harry Cobden.

It wasn’t all plain sailing, however, as his position on the outside of the field proved the worst place to be when favorite L’Homme Presse repeatedly jumped out to his left and into Braveman’s game’s path. But as L’Homme Presse forfeited ground, Bravemansgame was sure-footed at his fences and well placed to strike as the favorite took up the running at the third-last. Cobden soon sent his mount in pursuit and from that moment the race became a duel between the market leaders.

Bravemansgame, who had finished 12 lengths behind L’Homme
Presse when the pair last met at Aintree in April, seized his moment at the second-last and had opened up a three-length lead on his rival at the final fence, where L’Homme Presse unseated Charlie Deutsch.

Edward Whitaker

” title=”Assistant trainer Charlie Davies celebrates Bravemansgame (Harry Cobden) winning the King George VI ChaseKempton 12.26.22 Pic: Edward Whitaker” class=”js-imageLoader” data-at-xn=”https://www.rp- assets.com/images/news/2022/12/26/121173-medium.jpeg” data-br-n=”https://www.rp-assets.com/images/news/2022/12/26/121173 -medium.jpeg” data-br-m=”https://www.rp-assets.com/images/news/2022/12/26/121173-large.jpeg” data-br-w=”https:/ /www.rp-assets.com/images/news/2022/12/26/121173-large.jpeg” data-br-xw=”https://www.rp-assets.com/images/news/2022/ 12/26/121173-large.jpeg” onclick=”return false;”>
Assistant trainer Charlie Davies celebrates Bravemansgame (Harry Cobden) winning the King George VI ChaseKempton 26.12.22 Pic: Edward Whitaker

Harry Cobden greets Paul Nicholls’ delighted assistant Charlie Davies after Bravemansgame’s King George victory

Edward Whitaker

That left Bravemans game to finish unchallenged, with 14 lengths back to runner-up Royale Pagaille, who in turn finished four and a quarter lengths in front of the winner’s stablemate Frodon in third.

Bravemans game was cut to as short as 6-1 (from 25-1) for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, although Ladbrokes, Coral and bet365 all offer 10-1 for the big one in March.

“Not bad for a horse who doesn’t stay!” added Nicholls. “We were very confident and knew we had him at his best today. I loved the way he stayed on. All down the back he didn’t have a great passage because L’Homme Presse kept jumping across him, but he came back hard on the bridle and stayed on really strongly.

“He’s a maturing horse and we trained him for today, and that’s what you’ve got to do to win the championship races. He’ll go straight to Cheltenham now and I won’t run him again before the Gold Cup.

“On better ground I think he travels a little better than today, but he dug deep and stayed on. He’ll travel away in a Gold Cup and he’s very smart when he’s right.

“You’ve got to go and give it a go. Horses who win this race do run well at Cheltenham. He’s probably mature enough to get the trip at Cheltenham on decent ground. There’s no point going anywhere else and we’ll give it our best shot.”

Nicholls was delighted with Frodon’s front-running effort in third, although his third runner Hitman was unable to recover from a bad mistake at the 11th and was pulled up before two out. He was later reported to have bled from his nose.

“What a legend Frodon is,” said Nicholls. “I’m proud of him and he ran a grand race for a horse going on 11.”

Alan Crowhurst

” title=”Charlie Deutsch comes off L’Homme Presse at the last as Bravemansgame heads for home in the King George” class=”js-imageLoader” data-at-xn=”https://www.rp-assets.com /images/news/2022/12/26/121149-medium.jpeg” data-br-n=”https://www.rp-assets.com/images/news/2022/12/26/121149-medium. jpeg” data-br-m=”https://www.rp-assets.com/images/news/2022/12/26/121149-large.jpeg” data-br-w=”https://www.rp-assets.com/images/news/2022/12/26/121149-large.jpeg” rp-assets.com/images/news/2022/12/26/121149-large.jpeg” data-br-xw=”https://www.rp-assets.com/images/news/2022/12/26 /121149-large.jpeg” onclick=”return false;”>
Charlie Deutsch comes off L'Homme Presse at the last as Bravemans game heads for home in the King George

Charlie Deutsch comes off L’Homme Presse at the last as Bravemans game heads for home in the King George

Alan Crowhurst

There were certainly mixed emotions for Venetia Williams, who saddled runner-up Royal Pagaille but watched L’Homme Presse forfeit second at the last.

“It’s a shame as it looked as though they were going to be second and third, but they’ve both run very well,” said Williams. “Paul’s horse has won today, but there’ll be more races in which they meet and hopefully we’ll come out on top when they do. I’m proud of both of them.”

WIN two Club Enclosure tickets for the Tuesday at the Cheltenham Festival 2023! It’s simple and free to enter, all you need to do is log in to your bookmaker account on our new app and wait for the pop-up to make your entry. Download the app here.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *