Harry Derham is determined to crown his last season as assistant to Paul Nicholls with the stable's 13th trainers' championship after he announced exciting plans to train in his own right in 2023 from a new purpose-built yard.
Derham has been a part of Nicholls' team for 11 years and his right-hand man for six of them, having retired from race-riding in 2014 at the age of 19. He will end his spell at Ditcheat at the end of the current jumps season before moving into his new facilities, although the location and the owners of the yard have not been revealed while details are being finalised.
The 26-year-old will then spend a season getting to grips with the yard before he is expected to saddle his first runners at the start of the 2023-24 jumps season.
"I'm extremely excited about it, it's an amazing opportunity," said Derham on Thursday. "I was always realistic that unless I get a facility to train to what I thought was going to be a good level, then I wouldn't do it, but I've been offered a great opportunity by really good people.
"I have a really good relationship with the owners of the yard and we're just finalising a few details for it, so that's why I'm not saying where or who it's with just yet, but it's going to be a brand new facility. They aren't owners with Paul, so I'm not starting up under his feet.
"With the facility set to be ready for next summer, I'll hopefully be able to have some horses in there. It'll allow me to learn how to use the brand new gallops and facilities, so it'll take a bit of time to bed in."
Dan Skelton and Harry Fry were also former assistants to Nicholls who have since gone on to forge successful training careers and Derham paid tribute to his uncle and current boss for his support.
He added: "I've learned everything I know about the game from Paul, he's been a fabulous boss and continues to be. I'm very lucky to have such a good relationship with him and he's already offered me a lot of advice on what's to come.
"I've asked him a lot about his thoughts on it and if it was the right thing for me to do and he's been incredibly supportive. I've had an amazing time with him."
Despite the impending move, Derham remains focused on helping Nicholls to another trainers' title to close in on Martin Pipe's record of 15 championships, with big guns including Clan Des Obeaux, Monmiral and Frodon all returning to training.
"I hope this season carries on as successfully as we have been – my focus is 100 per cent on Paul's yard and horses," he added. "The championship is always in the back of our minds, we're in a very lucky position in that Paul has some fantastic horses and amazing owners.
"The horses all look really good and we're just starting to do a little bit more in schooling the winter horses we're going to war with. It's another level of excitement but I'm very focused on this season being another real success."
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