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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."

23 January 2017

Paul Nicholls ponders Politologue plans
Catchamat lays down Newcastle marker for the Waltons
Top Gamble back in Clarence House Chase frame at Cheltenham
More Of That given Cheltenham cross-country chase option by Jonjo O'Neill
Harry Fry gives white-hot Unowhatimeanharry Cleeve Hurdle entry
Nicky Richards set to launch dual Doncaster raid in Sky Bet Chase
Kerry Lee considers Thistlecrack Cheltenham clash with Kylemore Lough
Ladbrokes replaces Hennessy as sponsor of Gold Cup at Newbury
Briery Queen on course for Cheltenham Festival date
Nicky Henderson rules out Clarence House option for Altior
Gordon Elliott hoping for Leopardstown rain ahead of Don Poli Gold run
Leicester call early check due to frost threat
Gallant Gray Wolf River set more realistic targets for next outing
Evan Williams thinking of Aintree for Evening Hush
Ice Cold Soul bags big handicap hurdle prize at Leopardstown
A Toi Phil the latest to benefit from magic touch of Jack Kennedy
Faugheen on course to return for Irish Champion Hurdle defence
Yorkhill still unbeaten over fences after Leopardstown win
All options open for Harry Fry's Haydock hero Neon Wolf
Smart Flat mare Toe The Line off the mark over hurdles
No rush for Jessica Harrington to map out Jezki target

22 January 2017

King George VI Chase move would need BHA approval, says Nick Rust
Alary's Haydock disappointment mystifying Tizzard team
Airlie Beach on course for Cheltenham Festival assignment
David Pipe planning one more run with National-bound Vieux Lion Rouge
Warren Greatrex maps out Towton target for Missed Approach
Frozen track claims Fontwell card
Bristol De Mai's day as Alary falters in Peter Marsh at Haydock
Nigel Twiston-Davies salutes The New One after Haydock triumph
Un De Sceaux to run at Cheltenham for rearranged Clarence House Chase
Neon Wolf cuts loose at Haydock to claim Supreme trial
Waiting Patiently pounces at Haydock for Malcolm Jefferson
Deepsand a shore thing at Haydock for Alexander Thorne
Classy Jezki back in business at Navan
Yorkhill faces examination of chasing credentials at Leopardstown
Heartbreak City bids to transfer top Flat form to valuable jumps prize

21 January 2017

Pinzolo too sharp for Lingfield rivals
Hereford forced to abandon Sunday card
Hereford inspection brought forward
Clarence House Chase switched to Cheltenham
Sunday check for Hereford card
Fontwell team call inspection ahead of Sunday meeting
Frozen Taunton loses Saturday fixture
Dual Group One winner The Grey Gatsby joins Dermot Weld
Ascot card called off following early-morning inspection
River flows deep for Tim Vaughan at Chepstow
Project Bluebook earns Cheltenham quotes with Musselburgh success
Colin Tizzard earmarks Cleeve Hurdle charge with West Approach
Injury setback for Andrew Thornton but 'this is 100 per cent not the end'
Peter Bowen ponders hurdling return for Henri Parry Morgan
Alan King puts 'progressive' Elgin on trial at Haydock
Dashing grey Politologue takes next step up the ladder at Haydock
The New One primed for Champion Hurdle Trial hat-trick bid
Colin Tizzard wary of Alary's weighty task in Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock

20 January 2017

Tom Symonds keen to test Don Bersy before Haydock date
Jezki back on road to Cheltenham with Navan return
Un De Sceaux and Ar Mad set to renew rivalry but weather threatens Ascot
Ascot 'up against it' as Clarence House Chase card in jeopardy
Partly-frozen Ascot to stage inspection before Clarence House fixture
Chepstow given go-ahead after precautionary inspection
Classic quotes for Really Special after Meydan success
Alfie proves a money-spinner for Kerry Lee at Wincanton
No place quite like Ludlow for Land Of Vic
Willie Mullins happy with progress of Faugheen and Annie Power
Ryanair Chase on the horizon for Sizing John after Kinloch Brae success
Willie Mullins mob-handed in Mares' Hurdle at Cheltenham Festival
Ballyandy heading straight to Betfair Hurdle
Faugheen and Annie Power part of 47-strong entry for Stayers' Hurdle
Un De Sceaux and Ar Mad clash in Clarence House Chase at Ascot

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