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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 Sportingbet.com 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."

5 May 2016

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Lingfield forced to revise Saturday card
No Heretic and Nicky Henderson crowned Cup kings at Chester
David Griffiths gives Take Cover Temple heads-up at Haydock
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Cannock Chase returns for Sir Michael Stoute in Huxley Stakes at Chester
Aidan O'Brien hoping US Army Ranger can lead Chester charge

4 May 2016

'Conscious' Noel Fehily taken to hospital after Newton Abbot fall
Willie Mullins has American dream for Nichols Canyon and Shaneshill
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Solow on comeback trail but Royal Ascot run still undecided
Dartmouth aiming to deliver Ormonde honours at Chester
Linguistic sights set on Dee delight for John Gosden
Ainippe team consider options following Curragh spin
Trainers and jockeys praise Newcastle all-weather surface following trials
Aidan O'Brien dominates Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial entries at Leopardstown
Irish 2,000 Guineas confirmed as target for Blue De Vega
Andre Fabre unveils Royal Ascot ambition for classy Usherette
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Somehow strives to earn Aidan O'Brien Oaks call-up at Chester
Roger Varian marvels at Steve Rogers Chester Cup claims
Derby hope US Army Ranger declared for Chester Vase by Aidan O'Brien
Mark Johnston duo Lumiere and Buratino to drop in distance

3 May 2016

Appeal success for Robbie Colgan and David Broad over Ballinrobe bans
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Lingfield Saturday card in limbo
Owen Burrows leaning towards York mission with Muntazah
Gabrial's King and Venue step off reserves bench for Chester Cup
Dante D-Day at York for John Gosden and Foundation
Robin Of Navan set to swerve Lingfield trial for France
Aidan O'Brien - US Army Ranger will learn plenty at Chester
Found finds magic touch for Mooresbridge Stakes success
Derby tilt not ruled out for Guineas runner-up Massaat
Awtaad too good for Blue De Vega in Tetrarch Stakes at the Curragh
Aidan O'Brien - Classic trials likely to be key to Minding plans
Steve Rogers drawn stall three in Chester Cup for Roger Varian
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Aidan O'Brien ponders Irish 2,000 Guineas run for vanquished Air Force Blue

2 May 2016

Drama at Bath as horses narrowly avoid two people on track
Bryan Smart reveals Dante option at York for Kentuckyconnection
Australian ace Chautauqua to duck Royal Ascot
Prix Ganay glory for Dariyan and Alain de Royer-Dupre
Swiss Range speeds to Pretty Polly success for Frankie Dettori and John Gosden
Minding all business for 1000 Guineas glory at Newmarket
Oasis Fantasy returns to winning ways at Newmarket
Usherette on top for Andre Fabre and France in Dahlia Stakes
John Gosden happy with Crazy Horse and Royal Artillery after Newmarket gallop
Fascinating Rock and Found clash in Mooresbridge showdown at the Curragh
'No obvious cause' for Jack Hobbs Newmarket flop - Godolphin
Hugo Palmer to delay Derby call with Guineas star Galileo Gold

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