Turf Talk: Thirsk-based trainer David ‘Dandy’ Nicholls has died, aged 61

The late trainer David 'Dandy' Nicholls. PIC: Pat Healy/PA Wire
The late trainer David 'Dandy' Nicholls. PIC: Pat Healy/PA Wire
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THIRSK-based david ‘Dandy’ Nicholls, best known for his training of a raft of top-class sprinters, has died aged 61.

Nicholls – a former jockey, riding over 400 winners, including the flying filly Soba – won the Nunthorpe Stakes, July Cup, Prix de l’Abbaye and Haydock Sprint Cup, as well as all the major sprint handicaps such as the Ayr Gold Cup, in an illustrious career.

Nicknamed the ‘Sprint King’, Nicholls has been responsible for such luminaries as Continent, Bahamian Pirate, Regal Parade and Ya Malak, who created his own piece of history when ridden by Nicholls’ wife, Alex Greaves, as she became the first female rider to win a Group One in Britain, dead-heating with Coastal Bluff at York in 1997.m Nicholls began training in 1992 but announced his retirement in March this year citing financial problems.

Based at Tall Trees Stables near Thirsk, North Yorkshire, Nicholls went out with a winner as stable star Sovereign Debt landed a valuable race in Qatar at the end of February and only yesterday won the Diomed Stakes at Epsom for his new trainer Ruth Carr.

His son, Adrian, said on Sunday: “He passed away in his sleep at home this morning. He’d been battling a few problems of late.

“Everybody knows in racing what he did. He was a very good jockey and an even better trainer and probably an even better dad.

“His record speaks for itself. There are a few other people snapping at his heels to take the ‘Sprint King’ title, but they’ll be doing well to do what he did. Even yesterday, he was watching the racing and saw Sovereign Debt win at Epsom. He was good with apprentices and would always help jockeys out.

There are a lot of lads who wouldn’t be where they were if it wasn’t for his help. He’d go out of his way to help you. We were only talking the other day about some of his sprinters.”


CHEPSTOW: 2.00 Arizona Mist, 2.30 Barista, 3.00 Tally’s Son, 3.30 Satchville Flyer, 4.00 Star Of Doha, 4.30 Dark Pearl, 5.00 Great Sound, 5.30 Innoko.

FONTWELL: 5.50 Harvey, 6.20 Remind Me Later, 6.50 Clo Sacre, 7.20 Highbury High, 7.50 Bostin, 8.20 Lovely Touch, 8.50 Canford Chimes.

SOUTHWELL: 6.05 Code Of Law, 6.35 Hughesie, 7.05 Holy Street, 7.35 Gibson Park, 8.05 Over The Air, 8.35 Attest, 9.05 My Dance.

WETHERBY: 2.10 Jo’s Girl, 2.40 Mearing, 3.10 Treagus, 3.40 Lopito De Vega, 4.10 Dream Of Summer, 4.40 Merlin (next best), 5.10 Star Gypsy, 5.40 Dream Serendade.

YARMOUTH: 2.20 Zain Flash, 2.50 Musical Terms, 3.20 Albert Boy, 3.50 Theydon Girls, 4.20 SINGAPORE SLING (NAP), 4.50 Swilly Sunset, 5.20 Bequia.