Tent primed for International
View from connections ahead of the StanJames.com International Hurdle at Cheltenham on Saturday.
Nicky Henderson is looking forward to running My Tent or Yours (r)
Nicky Henderson feels My Tent Or Yours will strip much fitter in the StanJames.com International Hurdle at Cheltenham than for his reappearance.
The dual Champion Hurdle runner-up got stuck in the mud at Haydock last month when he was beaten at odds-on, but the Seven Barrows handler always had one eye on this event.
He is without a win for nearly three years, although a lot of that time has been spent on the sidelines.
Henderson produced a remarkable training performance to get the nine-year-old right back to his best at Prestbury Park in March to provide the only meaningful challenger to Annie Power, and as he is in receipt of weight from nearly all of his rivals, anything approaching that form will make him hard to beat.
"It was a very messy race for My Tent Or Yours at Haydock on bottomless ground," said Henderson.
"We all know he does not like that. The problem was that we needed to get a run into him. We could have waited for the Fighting Fifth, but that would have come too close to this race. He had go to Haydock.
"He was nicely relaxed but he could not handle the ground and it was a sprint at the end. He is suited by a very strongly-run two miles, while he loves Cheltenham and good ground.
"We're looking forward to the weekend, but with a bit of trepidation because he has to come here. He has a lot of allowances because it's a while since he won a Grade One hurdle.
"His work on Tuesday was excellent. I just felt Haydock had sharpened him up again, even if it was bad ground."
The New One is twice a winner of this event in the past but was not really supposed to be running this year.
Nigel Twiston-Davies had planned to send him novice chasing but because of several factors he is going in search of the hat-trick.
"Everyone knows we had planned to have him chasing by now, but it hasn't worked out yet," said Twiston-Davies.
"He has schooled very nicely but because the ground has been so firm we couldn't get him going as early as we wanted. Then, when we finally had him declared to run at Exeter last week the meeting was called off.
"There's a lot of money on offer this weekend, he's won the race before and he seems in very good form so why not have a go?"
"Everyone knows we had planned to have him chasing by now, but it hasn't worked out yet. There's a lot of money on offer this weekend, he's won the race before and he seems in very good form so why not have a go?"
Nigel Twiston-Davies on The New One
Old Guard struck 12 months ago for Paul Nicholls and finds himself back hurdling after failing to fully take to fences.
He reverted to the smaller obstacles in the same race My Tent Or Yours contested at Haydock but finished last of four.
"Old Guard was on a bit of roll last year and has not been in the same form over hurdles this season," said the champion trainer.
"He will be better on better ground than he experienced at Haydock and he probably wants a trip now. We will see."
Dan Skelton feels the track at Cheltenham and the prevailing decent conditions will play to Mister Miyagi's strengths
"It is nice to be able to run him on this ground in December. The track really suits him," said the Alcester-based trainer.
"My Tent Or Yours will be hard to beat on good ground. He (Mister Miyagi) just got outstayed at Aintree last time by a proper three-and-a-quarter-mile horse (Un Temps Pour Tout)."
Evan Williams is praying the rain stays away to aid his good-ground performer Court Minstrel.
Williams said: "He wouldn't want rain. He needs very good ground and he needs a very fast pace to be seen to the best effect."
Haydock runner-up Melodic Rendezvous completes the six-strong field.