Tag Archive for: Adrian Nicholls

Mo Celita back in France for seasonal swansong

Mo Celita aims to cap a remarkable season on a high in the Prix de Seine-Et-Oise at Chantilly on Tuesday.

The three-year-old filly has gone from failing to attract a bid after winning a Leicester seller in April to finishing fourth in the most prestigious sprint race in Europe, the Prix de l’Abbaye at ParisLongchamp, earlier this month.

She has won six times with her biggest triumph to date coming in a Listed race at Deauville in August. Victory in this Group Three heat over six furlongs would better that.

Trainer Adrian Nicholls has been delighted the way Mo Celita has taken the Abbaye and is looking forward to running her across the Channel again.

“She’s come out of the Abbaye good. I’m really pleased with her. She still looks a million dollars. It will be her last run of the season and we’re hoping for a big run,” said the North Yorkshire trainer.

“We’ve got a bit of form with a few of them. Air De Valse (Abbaye second) holds the key to the race. Longchamp is a lot more draw bias than Chantilly. Air De Valse had a good draw in the Abbaye, we didn’t have the best of draws, but she still ran well. She was behind us before that. We tie in with the right ones.”

Mo Celita again has a wide draw I stall 14, but Nicholls believes it may not be as disadvantageous.

“We’re drawn on the outside. If I had been picky I’d have chosen to be in stall one on the rail but it is what it is. She’s got one of the best pace riders in the world in Hollie (Doyle). I don’t think the draw will be the winning or the losing of it,” he said.

“She’s going there in great order. She was unlucky not to get Group One-placed the other day. If she could finish in the first three, we’d all be over the moon.

“She looks like a filly who is going to grow again. She’s physically got better all year and a winter on her back will crown her.

“She’s been a breath of fresh air in our small yard. To have a horse to run in big races is what everyone wants.”

There are two other British raiders in Tom Dascombe’s, Brad The Brief, who won this race 12 months ago, and the Richard Fahey-trained Ventura Diamond.

Champions Sprint enters reckoning for Mo Celita

Adrian  Nicholls is considering one more run this season for his rags-to-riches filly Mo Celita, following her fine effort in defeat in the Prix de l’Abbaye.

The three-year-old filly won a seller at Leicester on her first run for Nicholls in April – and has not stopped progressing since.

That was the first of five straight wins, and she has subsequently won at Listed level in France before her undoubted career-best in Sunday’s Group One when fourth to A Case Of You at ParisLongchamp.

“She ran a blinder. I’m as proud as punch of her,” said Nicholls.

“Obviously there were Group One winners all around her, and you can’t ask for much else.

“I’m delighted, she keeps improving. She’s proven she can mix it with them. They were pretty much the best there is on offer, so it was great.”

As for the rest of the season, the North Yorkshire trainer said: “There’s a possibility of a race in France (Group Three Prix De Seine-Et-Oise over six furlongs at Chantilly) at the end of October.

“The owners were (also) keen to maybe have a look at Champions Day and the Sprint. It’s not definite. She would have to be supplemented, but the filly will tell us.”

That Ascot assignment on October 16 would mean a move back up to six furlongs – a distance over which she is a five-time winner.

“She is effective over five, but I think six furlongs is her trip,” added Nicholls, who is already looking forward to Mo Celita’s four-year-old campaign.

“I think next year she will be a force to be reckoned with,” he said.

“She’s coming up the ranks quickly.

“It has all been a whirlwind for her this year. Next year we will be able to plan a bit more strategically. Obviously we didn’t know she was going to be as good as she has been.

“For a little yard like us, it’s unbelievable. With the sales coming up, you need to put yourself in the shop window.”

Abbaye aim for Mo Celita following ParisLongchamp fourth

Mo Celita remains on course for the Prix de l’Abbaye at ParisLongchamp following a creditable effort in defeat there on Sunday.

Despite the ground being on the fast side and having an unfavourable wide draw, the Adrian Nicholls-trained filly stuck on well to take fourth place behind Berneuil in the Group Three Prix du Petit Couvert.

Connections will be hoping the conditions and draw will be kinder for the five-furlong feature on on October 3.

“We got back last night. She’s come out of it good. I thought she ran a blinder on ground that was probably on the quicker side for her and a draw that was on the outside and hard to win from,” said Nicholls.

“Take nothing away from the winner, who won well. He was the one with the best form of the French, but she’s done us proud again.

“I’m not saying she’d have beaten the winner but if she had a better draw, and a bit more juice in the ground, she’d have been in the first three.

“The round track was beautiful ground but the straight track was quick. They don’t water it as they don’t use it very often.

“She’s still in the Abbaye. We’ll just monitor the weather. At the moment it doesn’t look like there’s a lot of rain but that can change.

“There are a few other options – a fillies’ Listed race at Newmarket and another race in France. The main aim is to go out for there for the Abbaye and then to discuss with (owners) Mr (David) Redvers and Mr (David) Howden if she is going to stay in training or what the plans are.

“She’s still on an upward curve. I was chuffed to bits with her. She’s entitled to go for the Abbaye. She has proven that.”

Abbaye hopes as Mo Celita dream continues

Mo Celita may try to complete her remarkable rags-to-riches story with a bid for top sprinting honours in the Qatar Prix de l’Abbaye at ParisLongchamp in October.

The Adrian Nicholls-trained filly is likely to first take in either the Group Three Qatar Prix du Petit Couvert at ParisLongchamp over five furlongs or the Arran Scottish Sprint EBF Fillies’ Stakes over five and a half at Ayr next month.

The three-year-old daughter of Camacho is already a Listed winner, having struck at Deauville this month.

It was only in April Mo Celita failed to attract a bid when landing a narrow success in selling company at Leicester, on her British and stable debut.

She then went on to win her next four races, as well as stepping up in class and being bought by David Redvers and David Howden.

“She’s in good form. She’s come out of her Deauville race very well. I’m very happy with her,” said Nicholls.

“There are a couple of races coming up – one in France she’s entered for, the Prix du Petit Couvert on Arc trials day. I won that when I was riding.

“There’s a race at Ayr at a similar time. She’ll get an entry for that. The long-term target at the moment is the Abbaye.”

Mo Celita has proved herself adaptable as well as classy, having won in conditions ranging from heavy to good to firm and over both five and six furlongs.

Yorkshire trainer Nicholls added: “She’s not massively ground dependent – she’s just doesn’t want it fast.

“You’re kind of edging towards France for that bit better ground. It’s usually on the soft side at Ayr as well, but we’re just playing it by ear.

“Mr Redvers and Mr Howden are looking to going to the Abbaye as the main aim if all goes to plan.

“It’s a dream come true. She’s looks to be still improving, so it’s onwards and upwards with her.”

Nicholls on a high following Listed strike from Mo Celita

Adrian Nicholls is thrilled with Mo Celita after the filly provided him with a landmark Listed success in the Prix Moonlight Cloud at Deauville on Sunday.

Ridden by Hollie Doyle, Mo Celita made all of the running in the six-furlong event and stayed on well under pressure to cross the line three-quarters of a length ahead of the runner up.

The victory is the latest step in Mo Celita’s rise from a 62-rated participant in selling races to black-type performer, a transformation that began when she joined Nicholls’ yard in April.

Beginning her career on English turf with a hat-trick of wins in sellers, the bay then won twice more after turning her hand to handicapping and ran with credit when beaten by just a length in the Palace Of Holyroodhouse Stakes at Royal Ascot.

A step up to Group Three company in the Summer Stakes at York resulted in a below-par performance, but the three-year-old was out of sorts on that occasion and proved her class at stakes level at Deauville.

The victory is a first Listed winner for Nicholls, who trains just 20 horses in North Yorkshire and has already surpassed last season’s total number of victories.

“She’s a superstar, it was unbelievable,” he said.

“We’re only a very small yard with 20 horses and that’s us into double figures (for winners this season), so to win a stakes race on Prix Maurice de Gheest day is unbelievable.

“It’s great for her connections. They bought her for that reason and they could have probably taken her to a bigger trainer, but they stayed loyal and it’s great that she’s repaid them.

“Hollie gave her a great ride, it was just a good result all round.

“That’s our first Listed winner, we came close last year but it’s hard for anybody to get the ammunition.

“It’s great that she’s come up through the ranks. She’s still progressive and she’s only run one below-par race for us at York and she wasn’t right after that when she got home.”

Mo Celita is jointly owned by David Howden and David Redvers, racing manager for Qatar Racing and owner of Tweenhills Stud, and Nicholls will consult both parties as he plans a next outing for their filly.

“The owners are very professional people and they know what they’re doing, it was the plan to go there and it all worked out – the prize-money is good in France, too,” he said.

“There are a few races back in France and there’s a race at the Ayr Western Meeting, there are a lot of options for her.

“She’s got a hell of a lot of speed so coming back to five furlongs is not an issue, so between me and Mr Redvers’ team we’re trying to chart the best course.”

Adrian Nicholls cheering on Mo Celita at Royal Ascot
Adrian Nicholls cheering on Mo Celita at Royal Ascot (Steven Paston/PA)

The Group One Prix de l’Abbaye at ParisLongchamp could be a longer-term target, a race that Glass Slippers has both won and finished second in after also taking the Prix Moonlight Cloud as a three-year-old.

“I think the Prix de l’Abbaye at the end of the year might be an option because she clearly goes on very soft ground, but there’ll probably be a Listed race or a Group Three en route,” Nicholls said.

“Glass Slippers won that race she won yesterday and everyone knows what Glass Slippers went on to do. I don’t know if she can emulate her but the form of the race looks strong with the French horses – a few of them have been running in Group Ones.

“It was just great to get the Listed win for her, obviously for her breeding it’s great in that respect, so it’s onwards and upwards now.

“That was her main aim and if she can step up again, so be it, she’s been an absolute superstar for me.”

Mo Celita in top shape as Nicholls considers next step

Adrian Nicholls is on the hunt for black-type form as he plots the next move of his swiftly-improving filly Mo Celita.

The three-year-old was obtained from Willie McCreery’s yard in Kildare in April and made a winning debut for her new stable later in the month when taking a selling race at Leicester by a nose.

That victory was the first of an unbeaten five-race spell that included two further sellers and progression to a pair of class four handicaps at Haydock.

The winning streak was brought to an end in the Palace of Holyroodhouse Stakes at Royal Ascot, where Mo Celita came home in fifth in a tight finish when crossing the line just a length behind the winner, Karl Burke’s Significantly.

Nicholls was pleased with the performance and will now target a race at Listed level or better for his next outing.

“She’s really well, she’s in good form,” he said.

“She’s got a couple of entries this week, she’s in at York on Friday and Saturday. She came out of Ascot very well so we’re just thinking now about where we want to go.

“She probably wasn’t drawn in the best place at Ascot but she ran a blinder, she’s got a Timeform rating of 105 now so she’s done remarkably well.

“We’ll try to get her some black type now and then just go from there for this year.”

Mo Celita is entered in both the Group Three Summer Stakes and the Listed City Walls Stakes at York at the end of the week, and also holds an entry for the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood.

“There are a lot of options so it’s just about trying to pick the best one,” Nicholls said.

“I’m not one to be afraid of one or two horses, there’s always something and someone else who fancies theirs.

“She’s still in the Stewards’ Cup, which is a massive pot for a handicap, for a small yard it’s a bit of an honour to have something to go into those races with such a good chance.”

Mo Celita is owned jointly by David Howden and David Redvers, the latter the racing manager to the Qatar Racing operation, and has made herself a firm favourite in Nicholls’ North Yorkshire stable.

“You wouldn’t know she’s in the yard,” he said.

“She’s a diamond really, she’s lovely to do and she’s a great ride.

“She’s very easy, I just wish I had a few more like her.”