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Henderson quietly confident before The Festival

Press Release 22nd February 2017 Cheltenham

Nicky Henderson said today at a media stable visit organised by Cheltenham Racecourse ahead of The Festival that his strong team for the four days next month has "a bit of strength and a bit of depth".
The Festival's leading trainer, with 55 successes, enjoyed two winners last year, Sprinter Sacre in the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase and Altior in the opening Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle.
Altior is the trainer's number one hope this year, going for the G1 Racing Post Arkle Novices' Chase on the first day, Champion Day Tuesday, March 14, though Henderson suggested somewhat mischievously that perhaps he ought to switch the seven-year-old to the Stan James Champion Hurdle later the same day.
The trainer said: "I was very confident about Altior at this time last year. I think he has transferred his ability to chasing and not made many mistakes.
"The one nice thing is that he has learnt from his two mistakes in four runs - he has done everything right.
"One's only thought is, goodness, what price would he be for the Champion Hurdle if we were still going down the hurdling road? The big question at the moment is will we dare switch him to take on Douvan in the Champion Chase. No, we won't. We want to win the Arkle, that is the objective and that is where he will stay.
"You cannot be confident, instead seriously hopeful that you have a horse that can win. You hope he can on the first day because then you have the ball rolling.
"All you need, no matter how many you have got running, is one success at The Festival. If you can have one on the first day, as we did with him in the first race last year, then you have got the show on the road and from then on you can add to it - the world ends if you do not get one.
"This Stan James Champion Hurdle is particularly open and you can see why we have brought back Buveur D'Air from chasing. It was not because he was doing anything wrong over fences but because we thought there is more to come over hurdles. This was before Faugheen was taken out of the Champion Hurdle.
"Altior was always going for the Arkle so Buveur D'Air would have found it difficult to beat him in that race. It seemed an obvious thing really.
"I know the Sandown race (which he won easily) did not tell us anything because he did not beat much. He goes on soft ground and is in good form. He ran third in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle last year at the Festival and most of our very good horses of the future have been placed in the Supreme.
"He finished the Supreme very, very strongly and then he went on to Aintree and beat Petit Mouchoir, which is very solid form over two miles and he is a better horse now.
"Noel Fehily rode him throughout last year and knows the horse very well so if Barry does not ride Buveur D'Air, because he has a number of choices including My Tent Or Yours, who is J P's (McManus) as well, I don't think there will be a jockey issue.
"My Tent Or Yours is the forgotten horse in the Stan James Champion Hurdle. He finished second last year and, if you took Annie Power out, he would have been a very good winner. He was also second to Jezki (in 2014). It is an open year and I have been very pleased with My Tent Or Yours recently.
"Brain Power has come by a different route through handicaps, winning two lucrative ones impressively, but is going straight to a Grade One. That is a big step up but there hasn't been a suitable opportunity to run him since he won at Ascot because of the ground. He likes to race when fresh, experience better ground and is going the right way. He will have a racecourse gallop at Kempton on Saturday or next week.
"Charli Parcs is a very high-class horse and the natural race for him would be the Triumph Hurdle, though he would be competitive wherever he goes. He is running in the Adonis at Kempton on Saturday first.
"We have always loved Top Notch because he has been so consistent - he is just a tough, honest sort. He was fifth in the Champion Hurdle and that is what he is. He has grown in confidence over fences and been brilliant. He is going for the JLT Novices' Chase.
"Whisper has been targeted at that race too but I am just having thoughts about the RSA Chase. Davy Russell gets on really well with Whisper - neither are in their apprentice years but they have been fantastic together. Whisper might be better going three miles."
Nicky Henderson - Seven Barrows, Wednesday, February 22
Synopsis - Nicky Henderson is the all-time leading trainer at The Festival with 55 successes. He has won the Jump trainers' championship three times - 1985/86, 1986/87 and 2012/2013.
Winner of The Irish Independent Leading Trainer Award at The Festival:
1985, 1986, 1987, 1990, 1992, 1993, 2000, 2010, 2012 (7 - new record - surpassed by Willie Mullins 8 in 2015)
Born - Lambeth, London, on December 10, 1950
Background - The son of financier and amateur jockey Johnny Henderson MBE, who founded Racecourse Holdings Trust, the forerunner for Jockey Club Racecourses, and helped save Cheltenham Racecourse, 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.
Henderson 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.
One of Britain's leading Jump trainers, Henderson has sent out over 2,500 winners and been at the top of his profession since 1985. His unprecedented tally at The Festival includes a joint record five Stan James Champion Hurdles, six JCB Triumph Hurdles, five Racing Post Arkle Novices' Chases, four Betway Queen Mother Champion Chases, two Timico Cheltenham Gold Cups, two Sun Bets Stayers' Hurdles and two Ryanair Chases.
First Winner as a Trainer - Dukery at Uttoxeter, October 14, 1978.
Cheltenham Festival Wins (55)
Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle - 3 (1986 River Ceiriog, 1992 Flown, 2016 Altior)
Racing Post Arkle Novices' Chase - 5 (1991 Remittance Man, 1993 Travado, 2000 Tiutchev, 2012 Sprinter Sacre, 2013 Simonsig)
Ultima Handicap Chase - 1 (2000 Marlborough)
Stan James Champion Hurdle- 5 (1985, 1986 & 1987 See You Then, 2009 Punjabi, 2010 Binocular)
Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase - 1 (2013 Rajdhani Express)
Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle - 1 (2012 Simonsig)
RSA Novices' Chase - 2 (2005 Trabolgan, 2012 Bobs Worth)
Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase- 4 (1992 Remittance Man, 2012 Finian's Rainbow, 2013 & 2016 Sprinter Sacre)
Coral Cup - 2 (2010 Spirit River, 2014 Whisper)
Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle - 1 (2012 Une Artiste)
Ryanair Chase - 2 (2006 Fondmort, 2012 Riverside Theatre)
Sun Bets Stayers' Hurdle - 2 (1989 Rustle, 2000 Bacchanal)
Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate - 4 (1985 & 1986 The Tsarevich, 2005 Liberthine, 2006 Non So)
Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Chase - 3 (1990 Master Bob, 2002 The Bushkeeper, 2005 Juveigneur)
JCB Triumph Hurdle - 6 (1985 First Bout, 1987 Alone Success, 1999 Katarino, 2009 Zaynar, 2010 Soldatino, 2015 Peace And Co)
Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle - 2 (1993 Thumbs Up, 1997 Barna Boy)
Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle - 1 (2011 Bobs Worth)
Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup - 2 (2011 Long Run, 2013 Bobs Worth)
Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle - 1 (2009 Andytown)
Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase - 2 (2006 Greenhope, 2012 Bellvano)
Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle - 1 (2015 Call The Cops)
Cathcart Chase - 4 (1990 Brown Windsor, 1994 Raymylette, 1999 & 2000 Stormyfairweather)
The Festival Wins by Year
1985: 3 - Stan James Champion Hurdle (See You Then), Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate (The Tsarevich), JCB Triumph Hurdle (First Bout)
1986: 3 - Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle (River Ceiriog), Stan James Champion Hurdle (See You Then), Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate (The Tsarevich)
1987: 2 - Stan James Champion Hurdle (See You Then), JCB Triumph Hurdle (Alone Success)
1988: no winners
1989: 1 - Sun Bets Stayers' Hurdle (Rustle)
1990: 2 - Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Chase (Master Bob), Cathcart Chase (Brown Windsor)
1991: 1 - Racing Post Arkle Chase (Remittance Man)
1992: 2 - Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle (1992 Flown), Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (Remittance Man)
1993: 2 - Racing Post Arkle Chase (Travado), Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle (Thumbs Up)
1994: 1 - Cathcart Chase (Raymylette)
1995: no winners
1996: no winners
1997: 1 - Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle (Barna Boy)
1998: no winners
1999: 2 - JCB Triumph Hurdle (Katarino), Cathcart Chase (Stormyfairweather)
2000: 4 - Racing Post Arkle Chase (Tiutchev), Ultima Handicap Chase (Marlborough), Sun Bets Stayers' 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), Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate (Liberthine), Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Chase (Juveigneur)
2006: 3 - Ryanair Chase (Fondmort), Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable 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 - Stan James Champion Hurdle (Binocular), Coral Cup (Spirit River), JCB Triumph Hurdle (Soldatino)
2011: 2 - Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle (Bobs Worth), Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup (Long Run)
2012: 7 (new record number since broken) - Racing Post Arkle Chase (Sprinter Sacre), Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle (Simonsig), RSA Chase (Bobs Worth), Betway 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 Chase (Simonsig), Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase (Radjhani Express), Betway Champion Chase (Sprinter Sacre), Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup (Bobs Worth)
2014: 1 - Coral Cup (Whisper)
2015: 2 - JCB Triumph Hurdle (Peace And Co), Pertemps Network Final (Call The Cops)
2016: 2 - Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (Sprinter Sacre), Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle (Altior)
Nicky Henderson's entries at The Festival 2017
1.30pm £125,000 Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m ½f
Beyond Conceit, Charli Parcs, Consul De Thaix, Lough Derg Spirit, River Wylde
2.10pm £175,000 Racing Post Arkle Novices' Chase (Grade 1) 2m
Altior, Top Notch
2.50pm £105,000 Ultima Handicap Chase (Grade 3) 3m 1f
Ericht, Hadrian's Approach, O O Seven, Triolo D'Alene
3.30pm £400,000 Stan James Champion Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m ½f
Brain Power, Buveur D'Air, My Tent Or Yours
4.10pm £110,000 OLBG Mares' Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 4f
No entries
4.50pm £120,000 J T McNamara National Hunt Chase (Novices) (Amateurs) (Grade 2) 4m
Beware The Bear, Lessons In Milan, Premier Bond
5.30pm £70,000 Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase (0-140) (Listed) 2m 4½f
Gold Present, Hammersly Lake, Kilcrea Vale, Pougne Bobbi, Theinval
1.30pm £125,000 Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 5f
Baden, Beyond Conceit, Burbank, Consul De Thaix, Phobiaphiliac, Rather Be, Thomas Campbell, William Henry
2.10pm £175,000 RSA Novices' Chase (Grade 1) 3m ½f
Might Bight, O O Seven, Whisper
2.50pm £95,000 Coral Cup (Handicap Hurdle) (Grade 3) 2m 5f
Bloody Mary, Consul De Thaix, Discours d'Un Roi, Fix Le Kap, Hargam, L'Ami Serge, Protek Des Flos, Volnay De Thaix
3.30pm £350,000 Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (Grade 1) 2m
Altior, L'Ami Serge
4.10pm £65,000 Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase 3m 6f
Entries close February 28
4.50pm £80,000 Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 2m ½f
Divin Bere, Domperignon Du Lys, Percy Street
5.30pm £75,000 Weatherbys Champion Bumper (Grade 1) 2m ½f
Daphne Du Clos - Entries close February 28
1.30pm £150,000 JLT Novices' Chase (Grade 1) 2m 4f
Different Gravey, Kilcrea Vale, Might Bite, Theinval, Top Notch, Whisper
2.10pm £95,000 Pertemps Network Final (Handicap Hurdle) (Listed) 3m
No entries  
2.50pm £300,000 Ryanair Chase (Grade 1) 2m 5f
Josses Hill, Vaniteux
3.30pm £300,000 Sun Bets Stayers' Hurdle (Grade 1) 3m
No entries
4.10pm £105,000 Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate (Handicap Chase) (Grade 3) 2m 5f
Cocktails At Dawn, Ericht, Full Shift, L'Ami Serge, Pougne Bobbi, Theinval
4.50pm £80,000 Trull House Stud Mares Novices' Hurdle (Grade 2) 2m 1f
Verdana Blue - Entries close February 28
5.30pm £70,000 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase (Amateurs) (0-145) 3m 2f
Cocktails At Dawn, Ericht, Hadrian's Approach, Full Shift, Lessons In Milan, Premier Bond, Sugar Baron, Triolo D'Alene
1.30pm £125,000 JCB Triumph Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 1f 125,000
Charli Parcs, Divin Bere, Domperignon Du Lys, Soldier In Action
2.10pm £95,000 Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 2m 1f
Bloody Mary, Discours d'Un Roi, Hargam, L'Ami Serge, Maestro Royal, Peace And Co
2.50pm £125,000 Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1) 3m
Baden, Constantine Bay
3.30pm £575,000 Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase (Grade 1) 3m 2½f
No entries
4.10pm £45,000 St James's Place Foxhunter Chase 3m 2½f
Entries close February 28
4.50pm £65,000 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle (0-145) 2m 4½f
Argante, Baden, Bloody Mary, Burbank, Days of Heaven, Divine Spear, Fixe Le Kap, Fly Camp, Maestro Royal, Oscar Hoof, Phobiaphiliac, Protek des Flos, Rather Be, Stowaway Magic, Thomas Campbell
5.30pm £105,000 Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase (Grade 3) 2m ½f
L'Ami Serge, Theinval, Vaniteux


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