NICKY Henderson today showed off his main Cheltenham Festival hopes and said he could have up to 35 runners over the four days. And he said: “My situation is not as gloomy as some people have made out – we are only one winner behind last year at this stage. Sadly, we will be missing a lot of the A team at The Festival but I am cheerful – all the horses worked well this morning – Bobs Worth worked great and My Tent Or Yours worked great.”
He added: “There are 16 or 17 horses going to Kempton to work on the Polytrack on Friday, while six will go to Newbury on Sunday including Bobs Worth, Captain Cutter, Triolo D’Alene, Royal Boy and maybe Vaniteux. That is the battle plan. We haven’t been running them for very obvious reasons.
“My Tent Or Yours will not go to Kempton or Newbury. I wanted to work some on the grass today and gave them a proper gallop. That would have been too much if they were going to Kempton on Friday as well. So the Kempton horses, led by Captain Conan, have just done a good bit on the all-weather this morning which is much less arduous.
“All the horses going to Newbury are better off on grass but the risk of that is how wet will Newbury be after two days of racing, but I know how to get on the Flat course! With the gallops as wet as they are, there has been some interference in our normal routine. It has been tough for everybody getting to and from the village (Lambourn). The water on the roads was a lot higher 10 days ago. We have been ferrying people here in jeeps and things – everybody has been fantastic. The worst thing was no electricity for 48 hours.
“Whereas, everything just rolled and rolled last season and went right, except for the Betfair Chase as usual, the horses were good, kept injury free and remained healthy. You have got to have all the luck in the world for that to happen. Things did go our way last season and it was fantastic but you know that it does not last.
“This season has not been a disaster – I think we have won six Grade Ones and it usually is a good season if we do that. Monday morning, when we had said about Sprinter Sacre missing Cheltenham, life was actually a bit easier again. A decision had been made, and I knew it was the right one, and now we could get on with things.
“We have got what we have. We have not got Sprinter Sacre, Simonsig and we are not going to run Long Run (kept for the Crabbie’s Grand National) but we have good some very good horses. As long as we can find a winner or two at The Festival….. We have plenty of horses who have good chances and across the board. Last year we went into The Festival with three favourites for championship races and odds-on ones. There is nothing here which ought to win but they can win.”
Nicky Henderson with My Tent Or Yours (left) and Bobs Worth (right)
Synopsis – Nicky Henderson is the all-time leading trainer at The Festival with 50 successes following four last year and a record seven in 2012 when he took The Irish Independent Leading Trainer Award for the ninth time. He captured the Jump trainers’ championships in 1985/86 and 1986/87, and regained the title from Paul Nicholls last year.
Born – Lambeth, London, on December 10, 1950
Background – The son of financier and amateur jockey John Henderson MBE, who founded Racecourse Holdings Trust, the forerunner for Jockey Club Racecourses, he was educated at Eton and the Royal Agricultural College.
He worked for stockbrokers Cazenove in London and Australia, where he gained experience riding work at Randwick, before devoting himself full-time to racing.
He first made his name in Britain as an amateur rider, finishing runner-up three times in the non-professional championship. His main wins as a jockey came on Happy Warrior in the 1977 Fox Hunters Chase at Aintree and on Acquaint in Sandown’s Imperial Cup in the same year.
Henderson recorded his 78th and final win on Rolls Rambler in the Horse & Hound Cup at Stratford in June, 1978.
He became assistant trainer to Fred Winter in 1974 and received his own training licence in July, 1978, taking over from Roger Charlton at Windsor House Stables in Lambourn, Berkshire. He moved to Seven Barrows, to the north of the village, in 1992, after swapping yards with Peter Walwyn.
First Winner As A Trainer – Dukery at Uttoxeter, October 14, 1978.
Cheltenham Festival Wins (50)
Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (1986 River Ceiriog, 1992 Flown)
Racing Post Arkle Trophy Chase (1991 Remittance Man, 1993 Travado, 2000 Tiutchev, 2012 Sprinter Sacre, 2013 Simonsig)
Festival Trophy Handicap Chase (2000 Marlborough)
Stan James Champion Hurdle (1985, 1986 & 1987 See You Then, 2009 Punjabi, 2010 Binocular)
Rewards4Racing Novices’ Handicap Chase (2013 Rajdhani Express)
Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle (2012 Simonsig)
RSA Chase (2005 Trabolgan, 2012 Bobs Worth)
BetVictor Queen Mother Champion Chase (1992 Remittance Man, 2012 Finian’s Rainbow, 2013 Sprinter Sacre)
Coral Cup (2010 Spirit River)
Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (2012 Une Artiste)
Ryanair Chase (2006 Fondmort, 2012 Riverside Theatre)
Ladbrokes World Hurdle (1989 Rustle, 2000 Bacchanal)
Byrne Group Plate (1985 & 1986 The Tsarevich, 2005 Liberthine, 2006 Non So)
Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Chase (1990 Master Bob, 2002 The Bushkeeper, 2005 Juveigneur)
JCB Triumph Hurdle (1985 First Bout, 1987 Alone Success, 1999 Katarino, 2009 Zaynar, 2010 Soldatino)
Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle (1993 Thumbs Up, 1997 Barna Boy)
Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle (2011 Bobs Worth)
Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup (2011 Long Run, 2013 Bobs Worth)
Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (2009 Andytown)
Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase (2006 Greenhope, 2012 Bellvano)
Cathcart Chase (1990 Brown Windsor, 1994 Raymylette, 1999 & 2000 Stormyfairweather)
Cheltenham Festival Wins by Year
1985: 3 (The Irish Independent leading trainer at The Festival) – Stan James Champion Hurdle (See You Then), Byrne Group Plate (The Tsarevich), JCB Triumph Hurdle (First Bout)
1986: 3 (The Irish Independent leading trainer at The Festival) – Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (River Ceiriog), Stan James Champion Hurdle (See You Then), Byrne Group Plate (The Tsarevich)
1987: 2 (The Irish Independent joint leading trainer at The Festival) – Stan James Champion Hurdle (See You Then), JCB Triumph Hurdle (Alone Success)
1988: no winners
1989: 1 – Ladbrokes World Hurdle (Rustle)
1990: 2 (The Irish Independent leading trainer at The Festival) – Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Chase (Master Bob), Cathcart Chase (Brown Windsor)
1991: 1 – Racing Post Arkle Trophy Chase (Remittance Man)
1992: 2 (The Irish Independent joint leading trainer at The Festival) – Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (1992 Flown), BetVictor Queen Mother Champion Chase (Remittance Man)
1993: 2 (The Irish Independent joint leading trainer at The Festival) – Racing Post Arkle Trophy Chase (Travado), Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle (Thumbs Up)
1994: 1 – Cathcart Chase (Raymylette)
1995: no winners
1996: no winners
1997: 1 – Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle (Barna Boy)
1998: no winners
1999: 2 – JCB Triumph Hurdle (Katarino), Cathcart Chase (Stormyfairweather)
2000: 4 (The Irish Independent leading trainer at The Festival) – Racing Post Arkle Trophy Chase (Tiutchev), Festival Trophy Handicap Chase (Marlborough), Ladbrokes World Hurdle (Bacchanal), Cathcart Chase (Stormyfairweather)
2001: no winners
2002: 1 – Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Chase (The Bushkeeper)
2003: no winners
2004: no winners
2005: 3 – RSA Chase (Trabolgan), Byrne Group Plate (Liberthine), Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Chase (Juveigneur)
2006: 3 – Ryanair Chase (Fondmort), Byrne Group Plate (Non So), Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase (Greenhope)
2007: no winners
2008: no winners
2009: 3 – Stan James Champion Hurdle (Punjabi), JCB Triumph Hurdle (Zaynar), Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Hurdle (Andytown)
2010: 3 (The Irish Independent leading trainer at The Festival) – Stan James Champion Hurdle (Binocular), Coral Cup (Spirit River), JCB Triumph Hurdle (Soldatino)
2011: 2 – Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (Bobs Worth), Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup (Long Run)
2012: 7 (The Irish Independent leading trainer at The Festival) – Racing Post Arkle Trophy Chase (Sprinter Sacre), Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle (Simonsig), RSA Chase (Bobs Worth), BetVictor Queen Mother Champion Chase (Finian’s Rainbow), Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Une Artiste), Ryanair Chase (Riverside Theatre), Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase (Bellvano)
2013: 4 – Racing Post Arkle Trophy Chase (Simonsig), Rewards4Racing Novices’ Handicap Chase (Radjhani Express), BetVictor Champion Chase (Sprinter Sacre), Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup (Bobs Worth)