FORMER UK jockey and trainer David “Dandy” Nicholls, who was renowned for his training of sprinters, has died at the age 61.

His son, Adrian, revealed his father had on Sunday and said: “He passed away in his sleep at home this morning.

“He’d been battling a few problems of late. Everybody knows in racing what he did. He was a very good jockey and an even better trainer and probably an even better dad.

“His record speaks for itself. There are a few other people snapping at his heels to take the ‘Sprint King’ title, but they’ll be doing well to do what he did.

“Even yesterday, he was watching the racing and saw Sovereign Debt [who he used to train] win at Epsom.

Nicholls was nicknamed the “Sprint King” during his illustrious training career. After beginning with just five horses, he scooped big races in Europe such as the Nunthorpe Stakes, the July Cup, the Prix de l’Abbaye and the Haydock Sprint Cup.

Based at Tall Trees Stables near Thirsk, North Yorkshire, Nicholls, who had been battling illness, went out with a winner as stable star Sovereign Debt landed a valuable race in Qatar at the end of February and only on Saturday won the Diomed Stakes at Epsom for his new trainer Ruth Carr.

Nicholls won the Ayr Gold Cup six times, sending out three winners in succession between 2000-02 from his base at Tall Trees Stables, near Thirsk.

-Racing UK.

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