Paul Nicholls Exclusive: Proud to reach 2,500 winners but I couldn't have done it without Team Ditcheat
Almost 24 years to the exact day after moving into Manor Farm stables Paul Nicholls has saddled his 2,500th winner as a trainer, and here the Betfair Ambassador expresses his immense pride and admits he couldn't have done it without some fantastic support...
"I was prepared to work all hours to progress, hoped I would be successful and ended that first season with 10 winners."
Landmarks in racing don't come much bigger than winning your 2,500th race as a trainer.
When I reached that total with a double today at Exeter I have to admit I experienced a mix of emotions.
While feeling a great sense of pride, I am also conscious that I could not have done it without the support of so many people, most notably my parents Brian and Margaret and my landlord Paul Barber who gave me my chance when I began with eight horses and a bucketful of dreams almost a quarter of a century ago.
What a coincidence that I moved into Manor Farm stables at Ditcheat on the 19th October, 1991.
I wanted to start with a flourish but had to wait two months before my first winner Olveston in a Novice Chase on December 20 at Hereford.
He was owned in partnership by my dad and a great friend Colin Lewis who was a big supporter of mine for many years and sadly died just over a month ago.
Although I had great belief in myself back then and still do, you never know how things are going to go when you begin a new career.
I was prepared to work all hours to progress, hoped I would be successful and ended that first season with 10 winners. Looking back now it is hard to believe that I have averaged 104 winners a year for each of the last 24 years.
I could not have done it without the support of so many good people, owners, staff and family who all bought into what I was trying to do.
I can't thank Team Ditcheat enough. They are the ones who put in all the hard work day after day to keep the show on the road.
Our season is only starting to get going now and there is so much to look forward to over the next six months.
So we will celebrate tonight and then set off tomorrow in pursuit of the next 2,500 winners!