David Nicholson, Retired English Jockey and Trainer, Dead

David "Duke" Nicholson, a successful English jump jockey who achieved greater prominence as a trainer, died Aug. 27 while being driven home from a hospital. Nicholson, 67, had been bothered by chest problems.

Nicholson scored his biggest win as a rider in the 1967 Whitbread Gold Cup with Mill House and ranked third in the jockeys' standings in the 1964-65 racing season.

As a trainer, Nicholson led the jump standings twice, in 1993-94 and 1994-95. He saddled Viking Flagship to win consecutive runnings of the Queen Mother Champion Chase (in 1994 and 1995). His other top runners included champion hurdler Mighty Mogul and Charter Party, who won the 1988 Cheltenham Gold Cup. On the flat, Nicholson sent away Silver Wisp to win the 1994 Jockey Club Stakes (Eng-II).

Although he was more successful as a trainer than a jockey, Nicholson referred to the Whitbread as his greatest triumph. In his autobiography, "The Duke," he wrote, "Mill House was a colossus, a mighty horse like a top-class show hunter, brilliant enough to win the Gold Cup at the age of six. He was just unlucky to be born in the same era as (the great) Arkle."

Nicholson's father, Frenchie Nicholson, was a champion jump rider and trainer as well as a great influence on young horsemen. He figured strongly in the careers of Pat Eddery and Walter Swinburn, both of whom went on become leading flat riders.

Duke Nicholson picked up his nickname after one of his father's grooms thought the youngster was acting too full of himself one day.

Nicholson retired from training in 1999 and started working for the British Horseracing Board as a blooodstock representative in 2002. He is survived by his wife of 44 years, Dinah, and sons John and Phil.

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