14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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Nicky Henderson with Sprinter Sacre

Nicky Henderson might publicly admit he does not expect to match last year's phenomenal haul of seven Cheltenham Festival winners, but a team of at least 35 from his Lambourn stable will be out doing their best.

These include virtually all of his returning heroes, such as Sprinter Sacre, Bobs Worth, Simonsig and Riverside Theatre as well as a former Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup winner in Long Run, which explains why Henderson is long odds-on to be top trainer when the meeting begins in three weeks' time.

"What happened last year is unrepeatable. Maybe Paul (Nicholls) or Willie Mullins will have seven, but it has happened once to us, so it won't happen again," said the Festival's all-time leading trainer.

"You would settle for one - anything that comes your way is gratefully received. The best thing is if you can find one winner on the opening day. It doesn't make the horses run faster but it gives everyone confidence."

If betting is taken literally, that one winner will surely be Sprinter Sacre, who could be sent off the hottest favourite at the fixture since Arkle won the 1966 Gold Cup. Henderson, who had opened his stable for a media morning on Monday, became practically doe-eyed when asked to pose with the Queen Mother Champion Chase-bound gelding, who has hardly been tested in seven starts over fences.

Henderson said: "Simonsig and Sprinter Sacre are two of the best work horses I've ever seen. I think he (Sprinter Sacre) is as good looking a horse as you'll ever see. Bobs Worth is no oil painting, he's just a nice horse, but with Sprinter Sacre it's a different ball game. He has a lot of natural talent and it's just easy for him. We won't be complacent, but he loves doing it. If you enjoy what you are doing, you can do it well."

After managing a one-two in the race named after his father, the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase, the trainer named his five probable runners as Tanks For That, Anquetta, French Opera, Petit Robin and Kid Cassidy.

Oscar Whisky was confirmed, as owner Dai Walters had suggested, for the Ladbrokes World Hurdle after a much improved attempt at a longer distance when just beaten by Reve De Sivola in the Cleeve Hurdle.

The trainer went on: "Our main objective had been to win a third Aintree Hurdle but Big Buck's not being there has opened it up. That has invited us there, and we'll go."

Virtually all the team have competed their racing trials ahead of Cheltenham, one or two handicappers aside, but Saturday could see last-ditch Triumph auditions for Vasco Du Ronceray and Courtesy Call, with Henderson adding: "They are two who really need a run on better ground and could go for the Adonis at Kempton."

6 October 2015

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Guineas heroine Legatissimo likely to race on in 2016
Frankie Dettori 'extremely grateful' for support of Sheikh Joaan in dream season
Eduard injury blow for Nicky Richards
Paddy Power option for David Pipe's Kings Palace
Andre Fabre unveils Lockinge option for Make Believe
Cheltenham's new stand to debut at The Open meeting
Ed Walker considering French trip for Persona Grata
Andre Fabre hoping for 2016 campaign with Arc third New Bay
David Marnane mulling Lingfield run for Jamesie
Saint-Cloud aim for Harry Dunlop's Robin Of Navan
Henry Candy eager to step up to a mile with Foret second Limato
Warren Greatrex issues Cole Harden Wetherby warning
Champion-elect Silvestre De Sousa lands Pontefract double
David Pipe "optimistic" of a bold show from Low Key in Cesarewitch
David Pipe considers French return for Dynaste
Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby an option for National hero Many Clouds
No decision yet on Free Eagle's future plans
Anthony Oppenheimer eager to tackle Breeders' Cup challenge with Golden Horn
Godolphin and Coolmore big guns all set for Dewhurst clash
Hugo Palmer in no hurry to decide Covert Love plan
Criquette Head- Maarek focusing on her post-Treve future

5 October 2015

Pascal Bary reveals Antonoe suffered pelvic injury in Boussac defeat
Low Key one of 56 remaining in Cesarewitch
Chelmsford hoping to introduce seven-furlong chute this month
Joe Tuite excited by Field Of Vision's Cornwallis claims
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Freddy Head hoping for Ascot rain ahead of Solow QEII bid
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Make Believe floors Limato in Prix de la Foret
Sovereign Debt on top in Tipperary drama
Goldream speeds to Prix de l'Abbaye victory for Robert Cowell
Treve set to bow out after Longchamp defeat
Golden Horn storms to Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe glory at Longchamp
Covert Love digs deep to give Hugo Palmer big-race glory at Longchamp
Ultra impressive for Andre Fabre in Lagardere
Ballydoyle strikes for Aidan O'Brien in Prix Marcel Boussac
Andrea Atzeni leaves Qatar Racing to ride for Sheikh Mohammed Obaid

4 October 2015

Qatar hero Dubday returning home
John Gosden's Mr Singh to stay in training
Dutch Connection only fifth in Shadwell Mile at Keeneland
Tuite in confident mood ahead of Litigant's Cadran test at Longchamp
Palmer thrilled with Covert Love condition ahead of Opera assignment
Storm looks a Star in the making after Cumberland Lodge stroll at Ascot
Lester Piggott backing Treve to claim historic third Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe
Cirrus Des Aigles beaten in quest for fourth Dollar at Longchamp
Eastern Impact gives red-hot Richard Fahey another big Saturday winner at Ascot
Esoterique cuts down Integral to take Sun Chariot prize
Log Out Island lifts Two-Year-Old Trophy at Redcar
Gifted Master runs rivals ragged to claim big Newmarket prize
No joy for British hope The Twisler as Vazirabad dazzles in Chaudenay
Mecca's Angel misses Abbaye due to drying ground

3 October 2015

Cailin Annamh recovers to come out best in Champion battle at Gowran Park
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Improving Star Storm far too good in Cumberland Lodge at Ascot
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Poet's Prize takes top honours at Newmarket
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Bary keen on Antonoe claims for Marcel Boussac at Longchamp
Deegan's Sruthan back on track for Concorde at Tipperary
George Chaloner breaks foot and ankle in gallops accident
Dale Swift stood down due to "sample irregularity"
Simon Crisford dreaming of Longchamp winner with First Selection
Cable Bay expected to be suited by Ascot test
Henry Candy has Limato primed for seasonal climax
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Michael Dods faced with Abbaye ground dilemma for Mecca's Angel
Chris Wall full of hope Mr Win can live up to his name again at Ascot
Andre Fabre believes Newmarket ground will favour Esoterique in Sun Chariot
Aidan O'Brien targets Tattersalls Millions at Newmarket
Miss France coming to boil for Daniel Wildenstein mission
Veteran Cirrus Des Aigles primed for another Dollar bid at Longchamp

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