NICKY HENDERSON INTERVIEW - 02/03/2016


Nicky Henderson is one of the top National Hunt trainers in Britain who currently holds the record for the most successes at the Cheltenham Festival in history.  He has also won the Champion Trainer title on three occasions and is well re-nouned as one of the best trainers currently on the circuit.  

Nicky has plenty of big names heading to the Cheltenham Festival this season and he kindly took the time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions for davemooretips.com;

We'll kick off with the Supreme Novices.  Obviously Min is the current favourite for the race however you have the next two in the betting who surely have live chances in Altior and Buveur D'Air.  Personally I feel the Boxing day victory of Altior was the best performance from anything in the field to date and he looks to be improving.  If you had to pick one would he be the one you'd fancy to turn the Mullins horse over?

You have to say that Altior has a very good chance, as does Buveur D'Air.  A lot will depend on the ground, if it's good ground then it will help Altior out and if it's soft it would be more to Buveur D'Air's liking

L'Ami Serge was my each way banker of the meeting for the Arkle after impressing at Wetherby and Plumpton but was disappointing at Warwick last time out.  Were there any issues with him and is he still on course for the Arkle?

We have been very happy with L'Ami Serge since his defeat at Warwick.  He is in good form and he goes to the Arkle providing everything goes well with him before now and the Festival and we continue to be happy with him

Another horse I thought would hit the headlines at Cheltenham but has been a little disappointing is Peace and Co.  He travelled well at Sandown which was positive but do you feel if he settles more he has a chance in the Champion Hurdle?

I don't think it's an issue with him settling as he did settle well at Sandown.  We've rectified a few things with him and although it's not an operation as such but we've tightened the soft palate to help his breathing.  He's clearly not looked the same horse as last year but we're hoping the adjustments can make a difference

Are you tempted to go for the World Hurdle with Different Gravey given how impressive he was last weekend?

No, it's likely that we'll give Cheltenham a miss and go straight for the Aintree Hurdle.  However, he's a chaser and we're looking forward to sending him over fences next season

Which horse would be your best bet for the week?

I think like you've said previous Altior has a very good chance.  Clearly I think they all do otherwise I wouldn't be sending them

If you had to back a horse from another stable each way for a race at Cheltenham what would it be at a price?

I think Douvan is the banker of the meeting but I'm sure that's not the one you want me to give you.  If I have to give you one I would go with Bristol De Mai of Nigel Twiston Davies in the two and a half mile novice chase (JLT) as I think that's a bit of a weak race

Should readers look out for any particular horse in the big handicaps?

We've only received the weights today so it's time for us to spend the time, and there is a lot of it selecting what horses we should enter for what races.  We kind of know what weight they will be given as we know their ratings, we know the ground is unlikely to be fast, it's a case of doing the calculations now and the other entries and seeing what horse is best in what race

Are there any horses you know for certain that will be aimed at a specific handicap?

I could have eight or nine horses in the Coral Cup

Is that a race you particularly want to win?

No, it's just one we have the horses for.  Look, there is a lot of things that need to be taken in to consideration and we will start that process today and see where we are over the next few days

Are there any dark horses to look out for at Cheltenham?

Everyone asks me if there are any dark horses, to be honest prices don't interest me so I don't know what the bookmakers have as favourites or outsiders so it's tough to say who the dark horses are.  I enter all the horses I feel can win races

Are there any particular horses working well at home currently?

We took thirteen horses over to Kempton for a gallop the other day and they all worked pretty well.  Altior looked very good, Buveur D'Air looked well, we were pleased with Vaniteux also.  Sprinter Sacre has also been in great order at homeand is coming together nicely.  Here's one for you as your after one, I'd say WHISPER each way, how is that one for you?  He's been working very well at home and should run well

Are there any unraced horses readers should keep the right side of in future?

We've got a few nice horses but we'll wait til after Aintree before we get stuck in to them.  We won't know where we're up to with them until then


A big thank you to Nicky for his views and I wish him all the best for Cheltenham and the future.