Two of Britain’s leading National Hunt trainers, Paul Nicholls and Nicky Henderson, have been recognised with OBEs in the New Year Honours list.
The two have been responsible for many of the modern-day winners of all Britain’s highest-profile jumps races.
Nicholls, 11-times champion trainer to Henderson’s five titles, exceeded 3000 British winners in April this year, and stands third in the all-time list behind only Henderson and record-holder Martin Pipe.
The two are honoured for services to horse racing at one of the busiest times in the National Hunt calendar, with Nicholls claiming the King George VI Chase for a record-breaking 11th time at Kempton on Boxing Day through Clan Des Obeaux.
Henderson was not represented this year, but has three King George wins to his credit.
“It’s a great achievement, and I’m really honoured and proud,” Nicholls said.
“It’s credit to everybody really, because I couldn’t do it without all the brilliant staff and owners we have.
“I always say I’m just a part of Team Ditcheat – and this is for all of them.”
Henderson, who began his training career in 1978, was equally thrilled.
“It is a huge honour. We’ve been doing this a long time, and I love the game, and the game has been very good to us. It is very nice we have been recognised in this way,” he said.
“It certainly doesn’t mean I’m retiring either!
“I don’t think it necessarily belongs to me, I think it belongs to Seven Barrows – but you can’t have Seven Barrows OBE, so I’m afraid it goes down to NJ Henderson.”