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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."

14 February 2016

Group One dates on Hurricane agenda following Listed win
Stable second strings give Willie Mullins a Grade Two double at Navan
Unowhatimeanharry delivers knock-out blow for Harry Fry at Exeter
Annie Power set for Punchestown return on Wednesday
Black Hercules crashes out to gift Measureofmydreams Navan prize
Violet Dancer hands Gary Moore Cheltenham conundrum
Overtown Express steams home for Noel Fehily at Exeter
Victoria Pendleton unhurt following Barbury Castle tumble
Sambremont secures surprise Flyingbolt success for Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh
Gary Moore keen to answer Ar Mad question at Plumpton
Danny Mullins aiming to be fit for Cheltenham
Nick Williams at a loss to explain lack of outside rides for Lizzie Kelly
No Haydock outing for The Druids Nephew
Dan Skelton keeping faith with Three Musketeers
Nicky Henderson left scratching his head after L'Ami Serge defeat
Take Cover in line for Lingfield return
Catterick forced to inspect
Ed de Giles favours Fred Winter for Akavit
No jumping at Lingfield on Tuesday
Green light for Exeter
Lizzie Kelly has eye for the big time as Agrapart takes Newbury prize
Sempre Medici strikes under Ruby Walsh to take Gowran honours
Dodging Bullets gunned down by Top Gamble at Newbury
L'Ami Serge floored at Warwick by Violet Dancer
Houblon Des Obeaux dominates Denman Chase at Newbury
Smashing effort gives Henry de Bromhead Gowran glory
Open Eagle soars at Warwick for Willie Mullins
Dan Skelton looks to Aintree with Newbury winner Meet The Legend
Jessica Harrington expects Ttebbob to show true colours in Flyingbolt at Navan

13 February 2016

Count Guido Deiro outstays his rivals
Ben Pauling thrilled with Barters Hill as Cheltenham Festival looms large
Black Hercules set to star in Ten Up at Navan
Tuesday's Lingfield card subject to Sunday inspection
Nicky Henderson's Buveur D'Air looks to book Supreme place at Exeter
Jonjo O'Neill has high hopes for Taquin Du Seuil on Warwick return
Josses Hill peaks at Kempton for red-hot Nico de Boinville
Willie Mullins seeking more Gowran gains with Sempre Medici
Nicky Henderson joy at 'perfect' My Tent Or Yours Kempton workout
Open Eagle seeking to book Cheltenham ticket at Warwick
Tony Martin and Dedigout target Boyne brace at Navan
Paul Nicholls hoping Dodging Bullets can fire in Newbury return
Rocky Creek aiming to regain winning thread as he tackles Denman date at Newbury
L'Ami Serge aiming to book Arkle ticket in Kingmaker test at Warwick
Connections hoping Blazer is tailor-made for Betfair test

12 February 2016

Kempton scorer Josses Hill back in business for Nicky Henderson
Victoria Pendleton to gain more point-to-point experience
Morning chasing Red Mills glory at Gowran
Willie Mullins seeking more Gowran gains with Sempre Medici
Harry Bentley joins Roger Varian's Newmarket team
Oisin Murphy sidelined by broken collar bone
Martin Lane sidelined following Kempton fall
My Tent Or Yours to have Kingwell prep at Kempton
Top Notch handed Morebattle Kelso aim
Exeter call precautionary check for Sunday card
Market Rally repels British raiders to claim UAE Guineas gold at Meydan
Ma Du Fou strikes Listed gold for Warren Greatrex at Huntingdon
David Pipe mulling Festival hurdles switch with Kings Palace
Winter Escape on Aintree trail following Doncaster victory for Alan King
National aims for Kerry Lee's trio of star staying chasers
Nico de Boinville keen on Altior Cheltenham chance
Willie Mullins considering Punchestown test for Annie Power
Tom George issues ground warning ahead of God's Own Kempton spin
Jonjo O'Neill swerves Newbury with More Of That

11 February 2016

Bangor and Uttoxeter beaten by weather
Mags Mullins sets sights on Cheltenham Festival with Thurles winner Ballychorus
Ma Du Fou cashes in with Banks success at Huntingdon
Tom George earmarks Doncaster prep for Grand National hope Saint Are
Willie Mullins set to chart direct Cheltenham route with Annie Power
Tracey Collins joy at Captain comeback at Dundalk
Blazer features in five-pronged Willie Mullins Newbury raid
Uttoxeter makes early call to abandon Saturday fixture
Ruby Walsh left deflated by Killultagh Vic injury
Bangor Friday card declared a washout
JLT favourite Killultagh Vic ruled out of Cheltenham Festival
Weekend workout planned ahead of Ascot 'option' for Flemenstar
Triumph Hurdle contender Fixe Le Kap heading for Victor Ludorum at Haydock
Kim Bailey has Supreme thoughts for Charbel
North Hill Harvey bids to secure Cheltenham ticket at Huntingdon
Gigginstown happy to play waiting game in Cheltenham Gold Cup
Peace And Co undergoes 'straightforward' respiratory procedure

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