The BIG Interview – Adrian Nicholls

Adrian Nicholls, aka Trotter, as he is affectionately known in racing is a Double Group 1 winning jockey, who after a brief spell at the BRS decided to follow in his fathers footsteps, Dandy & take up training horses.

Adrian has a small squad of 25 horses & just like his Dad, is quickly becoming the King of the Sprints, having Tee’s Spirit & Kings Crown landing huge races last summer…..

Adrian Nicholls

When you were younger, did you always want to be a Jockey or did you think about another career?

I wanted to be a footballer but was not good enough, so at 14, I started riding out 

As I understand it, you managed to find a loophole to become a Jockey at a young age, how did this come about? 

A friend of my dads Michael Richardson was a jockey in Scandinavia & he told my dad you only had to be 15 to ride there so off I went and rode on my 15 birthday.
I had 30 rides, with no winners but a great experience 

You were apprentice for both Ian Balding & Barry Hills, What was your time like at their yards & Do you have a particular highlight of your time at either yard?

Barry was a firm boss, he kept me grounded, my first ride him was on The Puzzler in a listed race, it was kind of cool I thought.
Ian was a gentleman of a boss, he was fabulous with apprentices & thought of me more than just how to be a jockey, an all round great fella, who gave me some amazing opportunities 

Riding for 19 years, winning 2 Group 1 races, How do you remember both of those wins & do you have a Favourite?

Both were fantastic days in my career. Haydock was very special as my dad had just come out of hospital and it was on home soil.

Adrian riding out on Mo Celita

When you retired in 2016, was it always your intention to become a Trainer?

Never crossed my mind to be honest, I took a year out & went to the British Racing School teaching the young kids, it was enjoyable for a time but I realised it was teaching horses that I wanted to do 

When Sir Lancealot became your first winner as a trainer, how was that feeling?

As good a feeling as winning the Group One as a Jockey

Adrian & Clare

How many horses did you start with & how many do you currently have  in the yard?

Myself and Clare started with 2 horses and now we have 25, it’s a nice number as we have a small, hard working team so the attention still remains’, so that each horse is an individual and get trained accordingly

I am a Big fan of both Tees Spirit & Kings Crown, How are they both & what are their likely targets for 2023?

They are both Saturday horses so we will aim for all the big races they are great horses and a pleasure to train them.

Tees Spirit

Do you have a Highlight of your training career to date?

Mo Celita was a wonderful filly who I’m very proud of her progression

What was the best advice you have ever been given & by whom?

It’s nice to be important but more important to be nice by My dad 

If you were in charge of the BHA for 1 day, what would you change?

Pretty much everything but mainly the prize money 


You can win 1 race as a Trainer, what would it be & Why?

The Nunthorpe cos I’m a Yorkshire lad and love a good fast horse 

And finally. Do you have a horse for our readers to keep an eye on?

Looking forward to our two year olds we have a lovely filly half sister to mamba wamba called Mambha if she’s like her sister she will give us some fun days.

We would like to thank Adrian for taking the time to talk to us & place on record our best wishes to all at the yard for a successful season ahead & all the best for the future..

Interview – Rich Williams
Pictures – Adrian Nicholls Twitter.

An AOLR Publication – Published : February 2023