John Nallen has forgotten more about National Hunt racing than most of us will ever learn and numerous stars have passed through his Clonmel base including Notebook, the leading fancy for Tuesday's novice championship, and Minella Indo, who will seek back-to-back Cheltenham victories in Wednesday's RSA.
In an in-depth interview with Martin Stevens, Nallen dispensed numerous words of wisdom, such as: "If you think there's evil in everybody you won't speak to anybody. You don't want to get caught out at the sales but you have to take chances. It's like if you opened a shop and made it so secure no one could rob you – your customers wouldn't be able to get in either."
Notebook flies the flag for John Nallen in the Racing Post Arkle
Although he failed to make a huge profit from the promising hurdler, he was not bitter about the turn of events. "You don’t wish anyone any bad luck, that’s the main thing, you want everyone to get a few bob out of it," he said.
The Cheltenham banker for many, Gordon Elliott's brilliant and unbeaten Weatherbys Champion Bumper hero was bred by a past master in Bruno Vagne, also responsible for Champion Hurdler Espoir D'Allen.
Scott Burton met the fascinating Frenchman, who told him: "The goal was to get some speed and class from the Flat in there but it has succeeded better than I could have ever imagined or dreamed of."The Big Breakaway (Ballymore Novices' Hurdle, Wednesday)
Wednesday is going to be a big day for Billy Mangan, the modest brother of Grand National-winning trainer Jimmy. The Big Breakaway, most impressive in both starts since a big-money transfer from the point-to-pointing sphere, has his biggest test to date while Your Darling, spoken of in the highest possible regard by Henrietta Knight, could head to Huntingdon.
"There is an ample number of well-educated, well-versed people in the bloodstock industry but I've never met anyone with the same encyclopaedic knowledge of National Hunt breeding as my uncle Billy," revealed his niece, Jane.
Billy Mangan (right) is the modest breeder of two very bright prospects
Although he was to prove a disappointment in the King George, agent Ross Doyle spoke movingly in December about the importance of the chaser to several families after tragedy, with part-owner Paul Taylor recovering from the death of his his son Charlie, and Lostintranslation's first trainer, Willie Codd, also lost prematurely.
"It's probably very nice but very emotional every time the horse runs for those guys, with the others who aren't here to see him," he said.
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