Nicky Henderson Stable Tour
Nicky Henderson is set to run three in the Champion Hurdle as we get the lowdown on his Cheltenham team.
Nicky Henderson with Brian Power (left) and Buveur D'Air (right) on Wednesday
I'll run three in the Stan James Champion Hurdle, Brain Power, Buveur D'Air and My Tent Or Yours and it's just a question of where we'll finish them off now. Nothing will run beforehand and there are various gallops planned.
Because he didn't run at Sandown I was toying with running Brain Power at Kempton on Saturday but decided against it. He worked well on Monday and Buveur D'Air did likewise on Tuesday. Brain Power cantered around Newbury after the Betfair Hurdle.
My Tent Or Yours is in good shape, really good shape. He was second in the Champion last year and has been something of a forgotten horse. He wasn't quite sparkling earlier in the season and will go to Kempton on Tuesday for a gallop.
He'll love the Champion. He wants a really fast-run race, which he hasn't had it all year. We should have made the running in the Haydock race which turned into a silly affair.
It's so far so good with them, they're all intended runners. Barry Geraghty hasn't given me any indication what he's going to ride, I haven't spoken to him about it.
I hope David Mullins will ride Brain Power. I'd imagine it's between Buveur D'Air and Yanworth for Barry, or he could surprise you and ride Tent.
I should think there's a possibility Noel Fehily would ride Buveur D'Air if Barry didn't. He rode him all last season and Barry virtually sat on him for the first time in his life at Sandown last time.
The good thing is it isn't a problem from my point of view. If Barry rides our horse, great, if he doesn't I don't think we have a problem.
I think Brain Power has done everything right and looks really well, he's been great, the one thing you could say is there is a ground situation here.
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Buveur D'Air would love it soft and Brain Power good. We all know on day one it's going to be good to soft or softer. The softer the better for Buveur D'Air – that helps him and goes against Brain Power and My Tent Or Yours.
If you take it strictly on what he did at Sandown, Buveur D'Air wouldn't deserve to be favourite for a Champion Hurdle. He beat Rayvin Black and Irving who didn't' really perform there or at Wincanton the next time where they were beaten even further. We've just got to do our own thing though.
I've always thought he was a Champion Hurdle horse even though he was very good over fences. The switch back wasn't entirely down to what was happening with the Champion Hurdle.
Yes Annie Power missing out made you think but I said to Barry before racing at Cheltehham that day that this horse needs to come back into the Champion whatever happens to Faugheen tomorrow.
Half an hour later Faugheen was out of the Sunday race but I was adamant before that my horse had to come back into a Champion Hurdle.
We've seen horses come through handicaps and look very good but it's always a big gap. However, rated 163 Brain Power has nowhere else to go. He has a very high cruising speed, you need that, you have to be able to travel through the race, and I'd expect they'll go a good gallop with The New One and Petit Mouchoir in the field.
We're a long way from another Sprinter Sacre but he's creeping up the road. We took the same route as Sprinter did in the Game Spirit and now he's got to come out and win the Arkle. If it happens and he doesn't do something silly there will be comparisons with ratings and the like. You wouldn't believe you could put away one as great as that and replace him with another. And this is a two miles horse and two miles only. It can't have been the wrong thing to do [go over fences this season] as there are that many people trying to convince us to go in the Champion Chase. If he's capable of taking on Douvan we must be thinking we've got something right. This horse could jump with Douvan. A lot of horses can't because a) they aren't fast enough and b) they can't jump quick enough. So far that's what he's been able to do. After Sandown we said we'd stay down this road (novice chasing).
I don't think he minds anything [ground-wise]. If he gets soft ground on Saturday at Kempton he'll run because he has to and I don't think it will worry him. I'd like to run him in the Triumph I must admit. He's very smart, a proper four-year-old. He's got to go and do it on Saturday. If you go into the Supreme you get allowances… we'll have to see. JP McManus has got a lot of horses in a number of categories. He's a lot of horses in the Supreme as well, I've got Consul De Thaix of JP's that could easily come in there, then there's Paul's horse who was second in the Betfair, Movewiththetimes, and a number in Ireland as well. They'll have to put the right horses in the right place and that's probably not my call.
We were going to go back over hurdles – he's in the National Spirit at Fontwell on Sunday [and he had that entry] with a view to going back over hurdles including the Aintree Hurdle and missing Cheltenham. But, his jumping has come back the last 10 days. He'll either run in the Pendil on Saturday with a view to running in the JLT or he'll go to Fontwell and miss Cheltenmham. I think the Pendil is the probability as his jumping has just come back, whereas three weeks ago he was just awful.
He's been excellent this year. He wasn't that good at Kempton but he's in good shape now. He goes for the Ryanair and some good ground would be nice. I think Un De Sceaux likes to get his toe in so good ground for that race please. Vaniteux is also in good form and goes for that race.
Might Bite goes into the RSA. It was horrible at Kempton but he had a nice run around Doncaster. He's been very good. Someone said to me the other day 'will you be happy with him on an undulating track as he's only ever been around flat tracks?' Well, there are plenty of horses that have gone to Cheltenham having only run on flat tracks. It's not a worry. His jumping has been good. It would be nice for Might Bite not to have to make it. He must have a powerful engine. It was going to be a staggering performance [in the Kauto Star Novices' Chase].
He's extraordinary because at the start of the season we said we'd give him a couple of runs in novice chases around the smaller tracks to give him confidence as he wouldn't have the scope for chasing. Then we could bring him back over hurdles and maybe try him over three, see if he made a Stayers hurdler. He was a nowhere-to-go horse really. He was getting the hang of it in small-field novice chases and learning the hang of it and getting to jump and getting his confidence up. He grew and grew and grew and grew until we get to Sandown and he's the best jumper there is in the Scilly Isles. He loved it. He loves soft ground. Two and a half helps him too. He'll have a tough task with Yorkhill and Whisper could be in the mix too.
Whisper I think goes for the JLT. He could move up to three, I want to talk to Davy Russell and Dai Walters about that. He stays three and it's a possible. He just went for a bit of a wander in the park for a year or so, we've all done it. He got beaten at Exeter by something not spectacular but he's put it together now and he gets on very well with Davy. He's a great style of riding a horse and he just tells him to get on with it and I love it. It suits him down to the ground.
More to follow…
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