British National Hunt horse trainer Paul Nicholls says a year on the sidelines could help last season’s RSA Chase winner Topofthegame come back even better than before. It could be recalled that a minor tendon injury curtailed his 2019-20 campaign before it began.
The champion trainer, who said the seven-year-old could have been possibly rushed back for the spring, said he is not willing to take that risk with such huge talent, and will instead err on the side of caution.
Topofthegame got the better of Santini and Delta Work in an exceptional RSA at the Cheltenham Festival. That is his only win as a novice.
As a result of Nicholls’ decision, the seven-year-old horse, with the Gold Cup his big festival target, will have to wait for action till another year.
Nicholls, who noted that his team had been there before, said it wouldn’t be the first or the last time this season.
While noting that Topofthegame was not used to having any problem, he said the team is currently on a tight line as the horse becomes fine one day and becomes unwell the next. While revealing that it’s a minor injury, he said there is a need to tread with caution.
Nicholls, who lauded the head lad Clifford Baker for being brilliant at picking these things up, said the team has scanned him and discovered that minor on his near-fore tendon.
He added that if he is stopped from competing now and come back for the spring, it is still a risk but if given the whole year and bring him back on July 1 next year, he’ll almost certainly be 100 percent fine.
Nicholls, who also commended Topofthegame’s owners Chris Giles and Paul Barber for the time they were willing to give the exciting chaser, said they have seen the situation and are mortified, but they both know patience is the way forward.
Noting that he’s a young horse, Nichols said if things are done right by giving him the needed time to recover, he might come back better than before.
Written by: Oladipupo Mojeed.