Nicholls signs off for the year with Taunton treble

Paul Nicholls ended the year on a high note as his last runners of 2021 returned a treble of victories at Taunton.

Irish Hill was the first success on the card, taking the Invest Southwest Juvenile Hurdle by two lengths after the final-fence fall of Lucy Wadham’s Graystone.

The three-year-old started as the evens favourite under Harry Cobden, who was the jockey in the saddle for all three of Nicholls’ triumphs.

“He’s very behind the bridle and very lazy, it’s taken a while to get him jumping as he’d rather stop and pop than carry on,” the trainer told Racing TV.

“He’s obviously a very strong stayer and he keeps plenty to himself, he’s one of those types of horses.

“He just needs to get his jumping sharper and be more fluent, then he’ll be better, he’s a work in progress.”

Brave Kingdom was also the favourite, this time in the Newton King Estate Agents Novices’ Hurdle, and duly obliged by a length and a half after starting at 8-13.

“I do think a flat track will suit him better,” Nicholls said.

“Whatever he does over hurdles will definitely be a bonus. I know it’s a cliche but he’ll be some chaser.

“We’ll keep dodging away, get some experience in and I can’t wait for the day he jumps fences.”

Rainyday Woman was the final leg of the three-timer, contesting the Listed Byerley Stud Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle and again prevailing when sent off as the evens favourite.

“She needed the run at Ludlow first time but she’s learnt a lot from then and come on a lot, that was her target to come here today after those two runs at Wincanton,” Nicholls said of the mare.

“She’ll have a break now, she’ll have her flu jab like most of ours and you won’t see her until February. I think there’s a race at Sandown called the Jane Seymour and she’ll probably go there.

“She’s a lovely, progressive mare, a big, scopey mare who’ll jump fences in the future.”

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