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Nicholls to name horse in honour of hero Stokes

Big name: Ben Stokes
Big name: Ben Stokes

By Ashley Iveson

Quick-thinking 11-time champion trainer Paul Nicholls was ahead of the game as he reserved the horse name Onethreefivenotout in honour of Ben Stokes' century which won the third Ashes Test for England at Headingley.

The big-hitting all-rounder hit an unbeaten 135 to lead an astonishing fightback against Australia on Sunday to ensure this summer's Ashes stay alive at 1-1 with two to play.

Last month, leading owner Max McNeill reserved the name Champagnesuperover for a horse trained by Olly Murphy after - again thanks to Stokes - a thrilling Lord's World Cup final went England's way against New Zealand, in cricket's equivalent of extra-time and penalties.

It was Nicholls who moved quickest, following another nail-biting afternoon - although he has not yet chosen a horse who will be given the name.

Nicholls explained: "I was watching the match at home, like most people across the country, and I just thought it would be great to get in quickly and reserve the name.

"I wouldn't say I go out of my way to watch cricket but I like watching the big matches, and obviously this was so exciting - it was incredible to watch.

"I haven't actually committed the name to a particular horse yet. I've got a few ideas, but we'll sit on the fence for the time being.

"I just thought it would be a nice name for one of our owners, and we have it reserved now which is great."

Stokes fever has, of course, gripped England as cricket rules the front and back pages for the second time in as many months - and officials at Carlisle Racecourse have made sure they too are part of it.

Carlisle is the Durham star's local course, and have decided to honour him by offering free entry for Thursday's race meeting to any racegoers who happen to have 'Ben' or 'Stokes' in their name.

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