OBITUARY – Tony Nichol


It is with regret that the BHRC reports the passing of Tony (Anthony) Nichol on 2nd April 2018.

Tony’s funeral will be at the Funeral Home of Edwin Pounds, New Line, Greengates, Bradford (BD10 9AS) at 12noon, Friday 20th April.
Donations in lieu of flowers to Yorkshire Coast Sight Support or Community Angels – both of Scarborough. These two organisations helped Tony a lot.

Tony Nichol (1955-2018)
Tony Nichol died in a care home in Bradford very early on 2nd April after a year of severe illness. He was weak physically but sharp mentally until the very end and was seen every day by his friends. I was with him most of Saturday afternoon 31st March and he had lost none of his acerbic wit. He passed away quietly in his sleep with pneumonia.
Tony was born and brought up in Bradford. His father, Dougie and mother Dorothy, both liked racing. His Dad was Australian by birth and his Grandfather Stanley was a decorated Soldier in the famous Australian Light Horse Cavalry Regiment. I first met him at Appleby in 1970 and we hit it off from the start.
He was a wagon driver for many years having a HGV Class 1 Licence but a “Trottingman” by profession and calling. He trained and drove Miss Caliburn, Annover and Petersburg for his family. The latter being a very good two year old by Russian Patrol. He was assistant to and mentored by, Jim Pick for many years spending a lot of time at Droyslden with “Pick” Edmund Dodd, Phil Robinson and “Bernard”, a pig farmer. He learned the job properly. For a number of years he helped the Burton family at Partington. Tony was quiet with horses, never flustered and was very good at breaking one in. He always believed Blue Russian was the best he was ever involved with. He worked as an Assistant Trainer with the great Barry Rattray in Tasmania. Latterly he wanted to buy a French yearling with me from the sales in Normandy, train it here and return it to France if good enough. He was an expert on Jim Picks horse Jimmy Direct, bred in Bradford and having two crosses to Dan Patch, he had numerous pictures of him.
Tony was a character from the world of “Only Fools and Horses” before that programme existed. He was a “Pool Hall Hustler” and would play anyone at snooker for money if the stakes and situation were right. He got a lot of good players to give him a few blacks start and then take their money. His catch phrases were; “I don’t know how I do it for the money”, “when you’ve got it you’ve got it, and when you haven’t it’s hard to get” as well as “you can bet your life on it”. Whilst in hospital a Medic advised him that he was going for a biopsy the next day. Tony’s retort was that it wouldn’t happen. The Medic, probably joking, bet him a £1000 it would saying “are you a gambling man?” Tony shook his hand and said “I am and I am good for the money”. The bet was made. The biopsy didn’t happen the next day, he never got the money and didn’t ask for it. Tony was a gentleman, but he was game to the end.

Is there horse racing in Heaven?
And who is to say there is not .
If there is Tony will be there with them
The Old School, the Manchester lot.
Pick might let him drive “Jimmy”
And Edmund see how Broadway can trot
Dougie would be arguing with Dorothy
Tony’s mother, the lady often called Dot
Angel Nicholl might be seen driving Petersburg
His colt, the one that could win
In his silks, so bright and resplendent
Blue Halo, white body and wings

Gordon Garnett