Leading Owner Chris Giles to Sell Talented Squad

Hot on the heels of seeing his British Trainers’ Title carted away across the Irish Sea by Willie Mullins, 14-time Champion Trainer, Paul Nicholls, has been dealt another potentially significant blow. Friday 14th of June brought the news that leading owner, Chris Giles, had decided to sell nine of his leading horses in training (many of whom are based with Nicholls), plus a broodmare in foal to Cracksman.

The reasons behind Giles’s decision will be all too familiar to anyone who attempts to juggle the demands of a home and working life with a hobby. Responsible for a young family and with an increasingly demanding workload, Giles simply doesn’t have the time he would like to devote to racing.

The End of a Successful Partnership?

It is believed that Giles hopes to return to the sport as an owner in the future. However, if or when those famous pink silks with purple spots will be seen again is impossible to forecast. For now, at least, this looks to spell the end of the Nicholls/Giles partnership, which has tasted significant success in the current century – standout Grade 1 wins including:

  • 2011 JCB Triumph Hurdle – Zarkandar
  • 2011 Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle – Zarkandar
  • 2012 & 2014 Betfair Chase – Silviniaco Conti
  • 2013 Aintree Hurdle – Zarkandar
  • 2013 Henry VIII Novices’ Chase – Hinterland
  • 2013 & 2014 King George VI Chase – Silviniaco Conti
  • 2014 Grand Prix d’Automne – Zarkandar
  • 2014 & 2015 Betfred Bowl – Silviniaco Conti
  • 2016 Ascot Chase – Silviniaco Conti
  • 2021 & 2022 Celebration Chase – Greaneteen
  • 2021 Tingle Creek Chase – Greaneteen
  • 2023 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle – Stay Away Fay

The Nine Going Under the Hammer

Horse stables

The above list represents an impressive body of work by any standards – highlighting the potential blow to the Nicholls yard represented by the Giles sale. The timing is no doubt particularly disappointing for Nicholls as, following a relatively lean spell for the partnership between 2017 and 2020, things had been looking up over the past couple of seasons.

Of course, those who purchase the Giles runners may opt to keep their horses with Nicholls, but that is by no means certain – particularly given the growing trend of sending the most talented performers to the leading Irish trainers, most notably Willie Mullins.

How it all pans out remains to be seen, but the following nine National Hunt horses will go up for sale at the Goffs UK Summer Sale, which takes place over the weekend of the 22nd and 23rd of July. The most notable absentee from the list being the Grade 1 winner, Crambo, who currently runs in the colours of the Sullivan Bloodstock Ltd & Chris Giles partnership.


  • Age – 4yo
  • Sire – Magneticjim
  • Trainer – Paul Nicolls

French Bumper winner who finished a promising second over hurdles on his only start for Nicholls.


  • Age – 5yo
  • Sire – Walk In The Park
  • Trainer – Paul Nicholls

Irish Point-to-Point winner yet to make his mark in Bumpers, but beautifully bred and expected to fare better when sent over obstacles.

Jackpot D’Athou

  • Age – 5yo
  • Sire – Doctor Dino
  • Trainer – Paul Nicholls

French recruit, who displayed promise in bumpers in debut campaign. Showing improvement for a wind procedure, he has won two of four starts over hurdles since returning in November 2023.


  • Age – 5yo
  • Sire – Reliable Man
  • Trainer – Paul Nicholls

A winner for Patrice Quinton in France, this son of a French Derby winner broke his duck for Nicholls in a Class 4 event at Plumpton in March.

Oak Grove

  • Age – 5yo
  • Sire – Soldier Of Fortune
  • Trainer – Fergal O’Brien

Purchased for £250,000 following a British Point-to-Point win, this promising type is closely rated to a trio of 120+ rated performers. The only runner on the list not trained by Nicholls, Fergal O’Brien will no doubt be keen to hang on to him.

Regent’s Stroll

  • Age – 5yo
  • Sire – Walk In The Park
  • Trainer – Paul Nicholls

Possibly the biggest blow to the Nicholls yard will come if this son of Walk In The Park heads elsewhere. Highly regarded by his current trainer, Regent’s Stroll made a perfect start to life at the track with two highly impressive Bumper victories last season.

Rocket Scientist

  • Age – 4yo
  • Sire – Blue Bresil
  • Trainer – Paul Nicholls

Unraced four-year-old stacked with promise, being by the same sire as Constitution Hill and hailing from the family of Denman on the dam side.


  • Age – 6yo
  • Sire – Air Chief Marshal
  • Trainer – Paul Nicholls

One of the more established performers in the sale, having won six of 13 career starts, including the Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle, the Scottish Champion Hurdle, and the Elite Hurdle.

Stay Away Fay

  • Age – 7yo
  • Sire – Shantou
  • Trainer – Paul Nicholls

Last but by no means least, the only Grade 1 winner included in the Giles sale. Regent’s Stroll may bring promise, but Stay Away Fay has already shown he has what it takes to score at the highest level. Putting Nicholls back on the Cheltenham Festival map with a win in the 2023 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle, he had made a largely encouraging start to life over fences, headlined by a win in the Grade 2 Esher Novices’ Chase at Sandown.