Brain Power a Champion contender

Nicky Henderson could give Brain Power the chance to test his Champion Hurdle credentials at Sandown on February 4.

Brain Power could run in the Contenders Hurdle

The late developing six-year-old has blossomed this season and took his form to a new level when winning the valuable Wessex Youth Trust Handicap Hurdle at Ascot by a comfortable five lengths.

The handicapper raised his mark by 13lbs to 162 – 20lbs higher than he started the season – which has put him on the fringes for the Stan James Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and Henderson was not backing away from that race as a potential target.

"He's a little bit like Altior they could do things together," he told At The Races.

"He's got a lot of natural pace but his jumping needed quite a bit of working on last year.

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"It was Barry who suggested we put cheekpieces on him and they've helped him. It's not that there's anything wrong with him in any other way it's his jumping, the cheekpieces are just there to help that.

"He's got a lot of raw talent and he is learning to race properly and jump properly."

Henderson is keen to step Brain Power up in class and give him another run before committing to the Champion Hurdle and the Betfred sponsored Contenders Hurdle at Sandown is his likely target.

"We were thinking L'Ami Serge might go for the two-mile Champion Hurdle trial at Haydock, which would mean Brain Power would slot into the Contenders Hurdle at Sandown and that way we'll find out what he is and where he belongs," he concluded.

Brain Power is a 12/1 chance with Sky Bet for the Champion Hurdle but there is another potential contender housed at Seven Barrows although Peace And Co hasn't been sighted since pulling up in last year's renewal when a 16/1 chance.

Henderson was able to give an upbeat bulletin on the six year-old, saying: "We're creeping into respectability.

"Behaviour is good. We only tinkered with what you would consider a minor wind procedure in the autumn and he had a reaction to that and was in hospital for a good month.

"We are probably quite a way behind, but having said that we are making good progress now, the horse looks fantastic, he hasn't galloped yet but he'll be entered anyway (for the Champion Hurdle)."

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