Henderson honoured in New Year list

Trainer Nicky Henderson

Nicky Henderson has been recognised in the New Year Honours list with the Queen making him a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order.

Henderson has been one of the most successful jumps trainers for nearly 40 years, claiming four championships, in 1985-86, 86-87, 2012-13 and last season.

The 67-year-old first took out a licence in July 1978, having previously been assistant to Fred Winter.

His longevity has been recognised by Britain's longest-serving monarch – a renowned lover of horses and racing – with the honour, which is a "personal gift of the Sovereign" awarded to "those who have served the Queen or the monarchy in a particular way".

Henderson told Press Association Sport: "It was a very nice surprise. We've been very fortunate. I trained for the Queen Mother and then the Queen for a number of years and it's a great honour to receive this.

"We've had a lot of fun and all her horses are home-bred. I know it gives Her Majesty an awful lot of pleasure with horses like Barbers Shop and all that family.

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"It's been a pleasure and an honour to train for the Queen and I'm very honoured."

Henderson has won virtually every major prize in the National Hunt calendar, including the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Champion Hurdle, but has yet to win the Grand National, while he has had success on the level too, including at Royal Ascot.

He is the winning-most trainer at the Cheltenham Festival, with 58 victories to his credit, and can look forward to this season's meeting after Gold Cup fancy Might Bite and reigning champion hurdler Buveur D'Air boosted their claims with big-race victories at Kempton on Boxing Day.

One of the first horses Henderson trained for Her Majesty was Barbers Shop, whom she inherited from the Queen Mother.

He was a smart performer, winning the Future Stars Chase at Sandown in December 2008.

The best of his four appearances at the Cheltenham Festival was his second place in the Jewson Novices' Handicap Chase in March 2008, although he was a creditable seventh to Kauto Star in the Gold Cup in 2009.

Take To Heart, Comely and Sunshade have all been royal winners from the Henderson stable this season.

The aforementioned Sunshade will attempt to take her unbeaten record to four and boost her paddock value when she goes for the Listed totetrifecta Mares' Novices Hurdle at Taunton on Saturday afternoon.

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