4th June 2017
I was shocked and saddened to hear today that Dandy Nicholls has died.
I can’t actually remember if Dandy ever rode for me but it was certainly only after he retired from the saddle and started training that I got to know him. Unfortunately, I never visited his yard to actually see how he did it and he told me that his methods weren’t quite as unorthodox as everyone believed but they were certainly effective. I imagine that many of the ideas came from David Chapman and it is great to see that that legacy is being carried on by Ruth Carr.
I have always said that, if you send me a horse which is bred to go a mile, I’ll stretch it out to get a mile and a quarter. But, if you sent the same horse to Dandy Nicholls, he would take it back to six furlongs. He did it very successfully several times, most notably with Regal Parade.
We trainers never like it if someone gets a horse from us and improves it, and I like to think that it doesn’t happen too often to me, but it didn’t hurt quite so much when it was Dandy. He would ask me to recommend horses that he should buy out of my yard and he clearly trusted me to be honest with him. I respected that and wished him well with them, even when he took Regal Parade from decent handicapper to Group 1 winner.
The racing world is certainly less colourful without him.