Nicky Henderson Stable Tour

Nicky Henderson
Nicky Henderson

Adventskalendar

by Paul Kealy

Jumps trainers might not want to read on.

That is due to the awesome depth of talent Nicky Henderson – crowned champion trainer for the sixth time last term – has at his disposal.

What Henderson, who recently celebrated the 42nd anniversary of his first winner yet remains as driven as ever, details could frighten the hell out of his rivals, especially if Altior and Buveur D’Air can bounce back – and there is confidence they can – Champion Hurdle heroine Epatante continues to shine, Santini and Champ remain authentic Cheltenham Gold Cup contenders and Shishkin lives up to his billing as Seven Barrows‘ latest superstar.

Altior makes a splash in the new water horsewalk at Seven Barrows
Altior makes a splash in the new water horsewalk at Seven Barrows, Photo: Edward Whitaker

There is strength in most areas, so optimism is high the yard can enjoy another productive campaign.

Don’t say you weren’t told.


Race in focus

We want to win the Grand National because we’ve never won it, we’ve won eight Champion Hurdles, so want nine, but you’re never not going to want the Gold Cup – that’s not too greedy is it?


Rival to watch

If Shishkin goes two miles, I’d expect Chantry House to go two and a half and I’m then hoping Envoi Allen goes three miles, in which case that’s the three novice chases at the festival sorted out.

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Stable profile

Yard Seven Barrows
Where Lambourn, Berkshire
Started training 1978
Horses in yard 148
Members of staff 56
Second in command Charlie Morlock
Head lad David Fehily
Assistant trainers Katie Croft, Billy Aprahamian, George Daly, Hannah Ryan
Travelling head lads/lasses Richard Nicholas, Sarah Shreeve, Jack Findlater
Jockeys Nico de Boinville, Jerry McGrath, James Bowen, Daryl Jacob, Aidan Coleman
Conditionals Joe Anderson, Alfie Jordan
PA Carolyn Harty
Accounts Marie McClure
Stable sponsor Unibet
Twitter @sevenbarrows


Winners in Britain 

2019-20 118
2018-19 141
2017-18 141
2016-17 154
2015-16 81

Profit/loss to £1 stake

2019-20 -£45.87
2018-19 -£14.75
2017-18 -£76.49
2016-17 -£113.50
2015-16 -£101.03

Prize-money 2019-20

£2,539,198


Horses:

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Adjali
Five-year-old gelding 
Kamsin (sire) – Anabasis (dam)
Owner: Simon Munir & Isaac Souede
Form figures: 374/60-P
Racing Post Rating – Official rating 137c

A decent juvenile hurdler two seasons ago, he’d had a wind operation, but a problem with his breathing reared its ugly head on soft ground on his debut over fences at Hexham last month, so we’ve got to get that corrected.

Ahorsewithnoname
5m Cacique – Sea Of Galilee
D J Burke & P Alderson
431/
RPR 103b

She’s a sweet mare who recently joined us for hurdling having won a bumper and two Flat races. She’s schooled beautifully after a fortnight with Henrietta Knight, is working nicely and is all but ready.

Allart
6g Shantou – The Adare Woman
R A Bartlett
3/F115-
RPR 143h OR 145h

He was an honourable fifth to Shishkin in the Supreme and it was a shame he couldn’t run again because of lockdown, although he’d excelled to earn his Cheltenham ticket beforehand. He goes chasing and jumps brilliantly. He has plenty of speed so two miles appears ne, although he’d get further.


Star quality

Altior (Aaron Rid) powers up Nicky Henderson's Seven Barrows slopes
Altior (Aaron Rid) powers up Nicky Henderson’s Seven Barrows slopes, Photo: Edward Whitaker

Altior
10g High Chaparral – Monte Solaro
Mrs Patricia Pugh
1111/21-
RPR 183c OR 172c

The ground at Ascot was desperate for his head-to-head with Cyrname, but it was an unavoidable clash. It wasn’t being beaten that hurt, just that Altior was exhausted and took time to get over it, but I’m glad he bounced back for Newbury’s Game Spirit, which he won in style. It put him spot on for the Champion Chase. His work had been brilliant, his schooling frightening, but he developed a splint on his near-fore. There was nothing we could do except watch as Politologue, whom Altior had beaten three times out of three, won. Anyway, everything is fine and he’s looking tremendous, so hopefully can pick up where he left off back down the normal two-mile route, starting in the Tingle Creek.


Apple’s Shakira
6m Saddler Maker – Apple’s For Ever
John P McManus
1143/P6/
RPR 142h OR 141h

It’s lovely to have her back as she missed last term but had been productive when she first arrived. She then disappointed, but she’s grown and strengthened and she’s a sister to Apple’s Jade, so I’m hopeful she can follow her act.

Arcadian Pearl
5g Arcadio – Grangeclare Pearl
Biddestone Racing XVII
7-
RPR 88b

He’s taken time but is all quality and we’re getting there. He ran respectably in his bumper and will go hurdling. He’s a slick jumper.

Arturus
5g Camelot – Scandisk
J Turner
8

He’s a beautiful horse and he’s beautifully bred, being a half-brother to Hurricane Fly, but he found that testing ground at Ascot on Saturday hard work. He’s lovely and will find his feet. I don’t know if we’ll go hurdling yet, but he jumps very well.

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Ballingers Corner
5m Jeremy – Dances With Wolves
M Roberts
1- (point-to-point)
RPR 76p

A pretty point winner, she was with us in the spring and we liked her, but she’s done well for a summer at Henrietta Knight’s and is one to look forward to when she goes hurdling.

Ballycross
9g King’s Theatre – Ninna Nanna
Oscar Singh & Miss Priya Purewal
PPP/272-
RPR 140c OR 126c

He was bought for the Grand Military Gold Cup, which was abandoned at Sandown and moved to Wincanton only for racing to shut down. We thought he had a cracking chance and that race will again be the objective, although he’ll pay his way through the season with cut in the ground.

Balmuick
4g So You Think – Full Of Love
Thomas Barr
17
RPR 89h

He won in style on very good ground at Hexham in September and softer conditions at Chepstow last week just found him out.

Barbados Blue
6m Getaway – Buck’s Blue
Crimbourne Bloodstock
122/1-
RPR 125h OR 119h

A first-time-out bumper winner, she scored comfortably at Kempton in May last year but came back with a leg problem. She was going nicely in the spring, has size and scope and jumps pleasingly. With no miles on the clock, she’s exciting.

Baron Nelson
4g Mount Nelson – Toolentidhaar
M A R Blencowe
6
RPR 79b

I was a bit disappointed with him at Market Rasen, but mine maybe weren’t quite on fire then and it would be hard to judge him on that. He jumps well, goes hurdling and I like him a lot.

Beware The Bear
10g Shantou – Native Bid
G B Barlow
411P/48-
RPR 165c OR 158c

We campaigned him last season for the Grand National, which obviously never took place, but he’d shown what a grand Aintree prospect he was when winning the Ultima at Cheltenham last year. We’ll again aim for Aintree, which we always felt would suit and it was desperately disappointing we couldn’t go there in April.

Birchdale
6g Jeremy – Onewayortheother
John P McManus
11P/38-
RPR 128c OR 145c

He didn’t enjoy his debut over fences behind Angels Breath, who is sadly out for the season, but ran creditably behind Dame De Compagnie in the Coral Cup. We’ll go chasing again – he needs confidence but is schooling beautifully.

Bond’s Lover
6m Flemensfirth – Courageuse
Mrs Christopher Hanbury
1-
RPR 121h

She took time last year but won pleasingly on her hurdling debut at Newbury on heavy ground, which she loved. A nice chaser in the making, she should benefit from experience and is more the nished article, so she should have a fruitful season.

Bothwell Bridge
5g Stowaway – Raise The Issue
Thomas Barr
22-
RPR 121b

He has all the credentials and ran admirably in two up-to-scratch bumpers. He’s schooled splendidly and goes hurdling. I hope he’ll take high rank at that and make a smashing chaser in time. 

Brain Power
9g Kalanisi – Blonde Ambition
Michael Buckley
41PP/1-6
RPR 162h OR 147h

He got a nasty overreach at Kempton the other day, which needed two general anaesthetics. That run was a prep for the International Hurdle at Cheltenham, but we might struggle to get there now.

Brave Eagle
8g Yeats – Sinful Pleasure
Robert Kirkland
3/1180-5
RPR 162c OR 153c

He’s not the biggest but he’s talented and has given us and Robert enormous fun. He doesn’t really handle soft ground, especially in the top staying handicap chases, and is too consistent for his own good, so the handicapper has him absolutely hammered.

Brilliant Present
4f Presenting – Ouro Preto
Mr And Mrs J D Cotton
6
RPR 86b

Gold Present’s little sister, she nearly unseated Jerry [McGrath] at Lingfield in an all-weather bumper recently but ran on encouragingly. I’m sweet on her.

Burrows Edge
7g Martaline – La Vie De Boitron
Michael Buckley
6/23/F10-
RPR 139h OR 137h

He’s a smart hurdler who won the notoriously competitive Lanzarote last term, although he faded a bit in the Coral Cup. He wants good ground and is a prime contender for chasing.

Buttsbury Lady
5m Great Pretender – Ceilidh Royal
Mrs Rita Brown
15
RPR 104b

We know this family inside out and she caught the eye on her debut in July. She’s schooled well and goes hurdling. She has a bright future. 


Star quality

Buveur D'Air: "If Hannah's happy, I'm happy"
Buveur D’Air: „If Hannah’s happy, I’m happy“, Photo: Edward Whitaker

Buveur D’Air
9g Crillon – History
John P McManus
21F2/12-
RPR 171h; OR 167h

Sadly he was beaten a short head in a muddling Fighting Fifth and came back with a wedge of hurdle stuck in his hoof, which resulted in a complicated procedure to remove it, and a large part of his hoof. He went back to JP’s Martinstown Stud, where his rehab continued. All is going well and we’re thrilled. He’s cantering on the grass – a strip of watered ground that he hacks and trots on three times a day – slowly and it’s a long road back. I’m not going to guess when he’ll be ready, but the only objective is the Champion Hurdle, which he’s won twice already. Even if we do have Epatante, you might as well have two arrows. Hannah Ryan looks after Buveur and if she’s happy, I’m happy.

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Buzz
6g Motivator – Tiysha
Thurloe For Royal Marsden Cancer Charity
114-3
RPR 141h OR 137h

He ran a great race in the Welsh Champion Hurdle last month and we’ll continue in those competitive handicap hurdles.


Call Me Lord
7g Slickly – Sosa
Simon Munir & Isaac Souede
73/2120-
RPR 164h OR 155h

He was as good as ever when bagging the International Hurdle at Cheltenham last season. I had queries about the trip and going left-handed, but he won decisively. We couldn’t get him in the same form in the spring though. He’s never enjoyed fences at home so will remain hurdling and I think there are smart races to win from two miles to three.

Captain Morgs
4g Milan – Gold Donn
The Albatross Club
21
RPR 105b

Unlucky not to win a bumper at Warwick first time, he put that right over hurdles at Ascot on Saturday. There’s no need to do anything fancy just yet, but hopefully he’ll hit some sixes like his namesake [England cricket star Eoin Morgan], who was watching from Dubai over the weekend.

Captain Woodie 
8g Presenting – Lasado
Middleham Park Racing LXXX
1/7/722-3
RPR 116c OR 117c 

I can’t get him right, but one day he’ll hit the headlines and get it right himself and win a decent contest. He’s capable and his patient syndicate deserves a change of luck.

Caribean Boy
6g Myboycharlie – Caribena
Simon Munir & Isaac Souede
5692/31-
RPR 143c OR 144c

He’s managed only two races for us, but I like him and Kevin Mooney, who rides him at home, has always been positive. I see him staying three miles if he relaxes and he’s a novice for a bit, so I ought to be able to get a novice chase into him this month.

Casablanca Mix
8m Shirocco – Latitude
Evan-Robert Hanbury
0/1114-2
RPR 154c OR 150c

She’s a grand, fun mare who loves life and jumping, and our aim was the Topham, which we’re keen on again. She ran a super race at Chepstow on her comeback and I’m sure she has more to offer, especially if conditions are quick. 

Cascova
5g Casamento – Sina Cova
Chelsea Thoroughbreds – Cascova
120/P-
RPR 110b

He’d done everything really well at home, but his hurdling debut at Ascot was disappointing and we gave him time. The season ended before we could restart, but he’s had a good summer, is hopefully over his issues and ready for a lucrative novice hurdle campaign.


Star quality

Champ
8g King’s Theatre – China Sky
John P McManus
21/11F1-
RPR 167c OR 161c

It’s fantastic he’s living up to his exalted name and his extraordinary win in the RSA will be remembered for years. Jumping the last, he looked destined for third, but the hill and an inspired Barry [Geraghty] galvanised him and he made up a ridiculous amount of ground in the last 100 yards to win. We were doing some jumping after his summer break and he made a slight whistle, which only Nico [de Boinville] detected, but [vet] Geoff Lane confirmed it, so he’s had a wind operation. It makes me wonder in that patch in the RSA when he dropped back, was he just looking for a pitstop? Barry doesn’t disagree and, having got that second wind, he flew home. We’ll also tidy up his jumping as to win the Gold Cup you’ve got to be immaculate, so there are two reasons he can improve – his wind and jumping. The chances are he’ll go to Ireland for the Savills Chase, then have another run in Britain before we hope he can be a true champ at Cheltenham.


Champagne Mystery
6g Shantou – Spanker
Trevor Hemmings
22/122P-
RPR 146c OR 139c

A capable horse who makes the pace, he was impressive at Aintree last season but the handicapper took a dim view. His jumping let him down at the festival, but he was hampered.

Champagne Platinum
6g Stowaway – Saffron Holly
John P McManus
1/55437-
RPR 141c OR 137c

He looked set for the top over hurdles but lost confidence chasing, although ran respectably in the Kim Muir when he probably didn’t stay. You wouldn’t want to come too far back in trip though, and his novice chase status is a bonus, while his schooling has been superb.

Chantecler
9g Authorized – Snow Goose
David White & Dean Gibbs
55/3117
RPR 122h OR 121h

He came to us wonderfully well handicapped and managed to win two. With a bit of luck, he can win another.

Chantry House
6g Yeats – The Last Bank
John P McManus
1/113-
RPR 148h OR 147h

A handsome horse, he won twice over hurdles before his excellent third in the Supreme. He goes chasing, probably over two and a half miles, and he’s extremely exciting. I’m hoping he’s a star of the future.

Chantry House is a novice chaser held in the highest regard
Chantry House is a novice chaser held in the highest regard, Photo: Edward Whitaker

Chasamax
5g Jeremy – Peratus
International Plywood (Importers) Ltd
323-P2
RPR 116h OR 115h

I was pleased with his performance when he finished second at Ludlow two weeks ago and he’s obviously on the upgrade.

Chives
6g Sulamani – Ceilidh Royal
Mrs Rita Brown
Unraced

We know this family closely and he was well educated in the spring, so hopefully he won’t take long to come to hand.

Claimantakinforgan
8g Great Pretender – Taquine D’Estrees
Lady Dulverton
1352/13/
RPR 150c OR 148c

One of our leading novice chasers the year before last, he had to take a season out. However, he was close to the best as a novice hurdler and retains that potential over fences.

Clarendon Street
7g Court Cave – Carrigeen Kalmia
Owners Group 028
4/215/
RPR 127h OR 129h

He was promising over hurdles but endured some niggly – not serious – problems. He’s returned in excellent shape and could go chasing, although he lacks experience and another run or two over hurdles might help. If all holds together he has a fine future.

Colonial Dreams
8g Westerner – Dochas Supreme
C N Barnes
6251/86-
RPR 138h OR 136h

He hasn’t found fences easy at home and we’ve stayed over hurdles. He’s high enough in the weights but can continue to be competitive in decent handicaps and hopefully win one.

Corrany
6g Court Cave – Time For An Audit
Trevor Hemmings
7/39222-
RPR 129h OR 126h

I’ve always rated him. He needs good ground and I’d like to win over hurdles before we go chasing.

Countister
8m Smadoun – Tistairly
John P McManus
5/30/78-9
RPR 138h OR 135h

Has some classy form, but didn’t sparkle last season and it was the same at Ascot on Saturday. She’d been working well and giving us better vibes, but disappointed and I’m not sure why.

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Craigneiche
6g Flemensfirth – Itsalark
Robert Kirkland
131-
RPR 126h OR 127h

He did well last season, winning a bumper and over hurdles, but little hiccups held him up and racing was halted when he was ready. The summer has done him the world of good and he appears a smart chaser in the making.

Crystal Gazing
5m Sulamani – Crystal Princess
Seven Barrows Limited
147-542
RPR 112h OR 115h

A nice mare who wants a sound surface and probably ran her best race at Ludlow recently. She’s available to lease and have some fun with before returning to her owner’s stud.


Dame De Compagnie
7m Lucarno – Programmee
John P McManus
521/511-
RPR 147h OR 148h

She’s smashing and won at Cheltenham last December before stepping up – very professionally – in the Coral Cup. The plan is to go chasing but we haven’t schooled her over fences as she came in a little later. We’ll see how we go, but either way she’s quality.

Diamond River
5g Imperial Monarch – River Clyde
Jockey Club Ownership (SW 2020) Limited
32-15
RPR 105h

I hope he can give his patient owners some fun and he’s had some good schooling with Henrietta Knight, so should progress over hurdles.

Dickie Diver
7g Gold Well – Merry Excuse
John P McManus
214/
RPR 145h OR 141h

He was a good novice hurdler and was fourth in the Albert Bartlett in 2019, but niggly issues kept him off last season. I’m dying to see him over fences and he desperately wants soft ground.

Docte Dina
6m Doctor Dino – Artofmen
Walters Plant Hire & Potter Group
5/14-
RPR 101h

She has lots of potential and I hope she’ll take top rank in mares‘ novice hurdles after an encouraging hurdling debut at Ludlow before Christmas.

Downtown Getaway
7g Getaway – Shang A Lang
T F P
217/P10-
RPR 138h OR 136h

He’s a grand, big horse who has shown plenty. He’s had problems and isn’t the easiest to train, but there’s no doubting his ability and it’s time for chasing. 

Duke Of Chalfont
4g Alianthus – Bonne Mere
A Speelman & M Speelman
5
RPR 95b

I thought he ran all right at Lingfield in an all-weather bumper and Sean Bowen, who rode him, was pleased too.


El Kaldoun
6g Special Kaldoun – Kermesse d’Esutruval
Middleham Park Racing CIV
6/5260-1
RPR 121c OR 120c

It was marvellous to see him win over fences at Hexham last month and he did it well. He jumped great and Jerry [McGrath] was positive. He should be able to do that again.

Elusive Belle
6m Elusive Pimpernel – Soviet Belle
Robert Waley-Cohen
201/325-
RPR 139h OR 136h

She ran respectably last season in quality company. The plan is to go chasing and I think she could be extremely proficient as she schooled neatly in the spring. She’s ready to go.

Emir Sacree
6g Network – Altesse Sacree
G L Porter
222F/
RPR 121c

Closely related to Sprinter Sacre, he was second three times in France and is quite forward and likeable. We might wait for some cut in the ground.


Star quality

Epatante excelled in the Champion Hurdle
Epatante excelled in the Champion Hurdle, Photo: Edward Whitaker

Epatante
6m No Risk At All – Kadjara
John P McManus
119/111-
RPR 163h OR 162h

She stepped up after the Gerry Feilden to win the Christmas Hurdle impressively and did the same in the Champion Hurdle, which was a joy to watch. She was ridden at home by Sophie Candy, who got to know her closely and the trust they had in each other was instrumental. The Fighting Fifth is the obvious starting point for her followed by the Christmas Hurdle again. She’s probably not a chaser, but she doesn’t need to be when there’s every chance of winning another Champion.

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Falco Blitz
6g Falco – Ignited
Axom LXXVII
12415-5
RPR 131c OR 132c

I like him a lot, but he made a couple of mistakes and jumped to the left on his debut over fences at Ascot on Saturday. He’ll come on for that and could develop into a decent novice chaser.

Father John
5g Secret Singer – Oudette
Middleham Park Racing Xi
1-
RPR 102b

He’s had niggly problems and his novice hurdle campaign never materialised last season, but he’s stronger and more mature for that now. He’s done loads of schooling and will get there.

Fix Sun
5g Al Namix – Quelly Bruere
Simon Munir & Isaac Souede
21/112-0
RPR 131h OR 136h

Won twice last season and nearly made it three, but we never felt we had him spot on and he should improve a lot from his recent outing at Cheltenham.

Flinteur Sacre
5g Network – Fatima III
John P McManus
21-
RPR 128b

He’s Sprinter Sacre’s brother and has looked the part from day one. He won with ridiculous ease at Kempton in February, did plenty of schooling in the spring and is ready for hurdling. He has a bit to live up to but is exciting. His lad Sarwar Mohammed tells me he’s just like riding Sprinter, but that might be heart ruling head! 

Floressa
5m Poliglote – Dona Rez
Just Four Men
2/12129-
RPR 141h OR 141h

Gorgeous and classy, she was a Listed winner last season and is better than her performance at the festival. She pulled some muscles in her back and missed a race at Wetherby on Saturday, which was frustrating, but she’ll soon be okay and we’re condent she’s a leading lady in waiting. 

Follow The Bear
8g King’s Theatre – Mrs Dempsey
G B Barlow
1112P-4
RPR 132c OR 135c

He’s a delightful character and I’ll be disappointed if he can’t go far as a chaser. He’s an accurate jumper and strong stayer who prefers good ground.

Fox’s Socks
5g Crillon – Queva De Sarti
J Palmer-Brown
42-
RPR 101b

I like him and he should have won a jumpers‘ bumper at Wolverhampton. He’s coming along and loves his jumping.

Fraser Island
4g Australia – Ponty Acclaim
A D Spence
1320-0
RPR 120h OR 126h

A neat horse who did well last term, he’s more robust now and can continue to progress. I was disappointed with him at Chepstow last month, but some of mine were needing it more than I thought.

Fred
5g Cokoriko – Veribelle
Simon Munir & Isaac Souede
22/3311-
RPR 139h OR 144h

He had a fruitful campaign and is a bonny, bouncy sort who I don’t think wants testing conditions. The plan is to go chasing.

French Crusader
7g Kapgarde – Largesse
Robert Kirkland
52/121/2-
RPR 141h OR 139h

He’s talented, as his second to Epatante last season demonstrates, but not easy to train. He could stay hurdling or go chasing and, if everything is right, could be very good.

Fugitives Drift
5g Yeats – Shebeganit
HP Racing Fugitives Drift
3/312-11
RPR 137h OR 137h

He’s two from two this autumn and it was possibly to his advantage he didn’t run again in the spring as he had an enjoyable early summer on some lovely grass at Fiona Marner’s. 

Nicky Henderson keeps a watchful eye on his awesome string
Nicky Henderson keeps a watchful eye on his awesome string, Photo: Edward Whitaker

Fusil Raffles
5g Saint Des Saints – Tali Des Obeaux
Simon Munir & Isaac Souede
11P0-11
RPR 158h OR 152c

Chasing has helped him regain what he showed as a four-year-old, when he won a Grade 1 at the Punchestown festival, and he’s unbeaten in two over fences, including a polished display at Cheltenham last time. He could go into graded company, possibly at the next Cheltenham meeting, and I’m keen to go two and a half miles, but it doesn’t appear essential at the moment.


Galan Des Planches
4g Crillon – Quaty Des Planches
The Ten From Seven
56
RPR 91h

He’ll get there. He was sixth at Stratford last week and is just taking time to get the hang of things, but he’ll be all right and I like him.

Gallyhill
5g Getaway – Tanit
Claudio Michael Grech
1- (point-to-point)
RPR 90p

We loved what we saw in the spring from this handsome big point winner, and he’s had a good summer with Henrietta Knight. You won’t see him until the ground is properly soft. 

Galurin
4g Sunday Break – Rirta
Million in Mind Partnership
5-62
RPR – OR –

He’s our new horse for Million in Mind, who have been such loyal and enthusiastic owners. He shaped favourably in French bumpers and the biggest thing will be keeping a lid on him as he’s quite buzzy, but he looks like he’ll go well. Hurdling is almost certain.

Giants Table
5g Great Pretender – Bold Fire
Lady Bamford & Alice Bamford
1/ (point-to-point)
RPR 92p

He’s a grand sort and time won’t have done him any harm. He’ll start in novice hurdles but is a staying chaser of the future – hopefully a magnificent one.

Gipsy De Choisel
4g Great Pretender – Beautiful Choisel
Simon Munir & Isaac Souede
1
RPR – OR –

He won his only start in France and is a grand looker. I’m relishing seeing him in novice hurdles as he’s very nice.

Global Society
5g Shirocco – Oligarch Society
Johnnie Lightfoot
2221P4-
RPR 122h OR 128h

He looked to be going places when he won at Doncaster but ran away with Nico on the way to the start at Kempton and was out of control in the race too. I’m hopeful what was ailing him is in the past after a good summer at home.

Glynn
6g Winged Love – Barnish River
Owners Group 039
1/1-
RPR 131h

He was brilliant at Doncaster on his hurdling debut but didn’t sparkle afterwards and then racing was curtailed when we were ready again. He’s had an excellent summer and has enormous potential. I’m not in a rush to go chasing. 

Go Chique
4f Crillon – Similaresisoldofa
Middleham Park Racing CX
15
RPR 98h

A lovely looker, she won a Southwell bumper in style and I’m optimistic she can build on her hurdling debut.

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Go Sacre Go
4g Network – Altesse Sacree
G L Porter
P-
RPR – OR –

From the family of Sprinter Sacre and immature like him, he’s a stunning youngster who may need time, but he’s grown and developed outstandingly over the summer.

Goodbye Stranger
3g Kapgarde – Romaneda
Simon Munir & Isaac Souede
Unraced

He came via the same French connections as We Have A Dream and could start in a bumper or juvenile hurdle. He ticks the boxes, but we don’t know much about him.

Gold Present
10g Presenting – Ouro Preto
Mr And Mrs J D Cotton
P/39F2/9-
RPR 158c OR 150c

He’s an old favourite who is consistent and classy and takes in all the big meetings. He’s had a wind operation, so I’m looking forward to seeing him back, particularly on good ground.


Dark horse

Gran Luna gets her eye in under Nico de Boinville at Henrietta Knight's
Gran Luna gets her eye in under Nico de Boinville at Henrietta Knight’s, Photo: Edward Whitaker

Gran Luna
4f Spanish Moon – Coppena
Surrey Racing (GL)
1-
RPR 93b

We saw plenty right from the start with this filly and she landed what I think was a strong bumper at Newbury before the sales bumper at the track, which we’d been eyeing, was cancelled due to the coronavirus. My hopes are high she can reach the top in mares‘ novice hurdles and show how talented she is.


Grand Mogul
6g Presenting – Oligarch Society
Mrs Christopher Hanbury
4/1/P6-1
RPR 130h

I thought his win at Chepstow last week was great and sometimes when horses arrive from Ireland they can just take a year to acclimatise and that performance was completely different to anything we saw last season. He was very professional and jumped beautifully.

Gunnery
7g Le Havre – Loup The Loup
Mrs Fitri Hay
21016-6
RPR 122h OR 128h

Likeable and capable, he’s rated quite highly over hurdles. We couldn’t run at Chepstow last month because of the quick ground but goes to Plumpton on Monday.


Haul Away
7g Stowaway – Lisacul Queen
Robert Kirkland
147/4-42
RPR 125c OR 123c

A four-time hurdle winner, he has the credentials for chasing and we’ve just done a wind operation, which will hopefully help.

Heross Du Seuil
3g Rail Link – Tulipe Du Seuil
Mrs J Donnelly
1

A recent arrival who won a bumper in France, he’s a gorgeous horse from Defi Du Seuil’s family. He could start in a juvenile hurdle before Christmas and his schooling has been a pleasure to watch, but bumpers are an option. He’s one to note.

Hijack
5g Fame And Glory – Etoile Margot
Highclere Thoroughbred Racing – Fame
5113-20
RPR 129h OR 130h

He was productive last season, winning two novice hurdles, but his jumping got caught out a little on lively ground at Cheltenham last month. He likes softer conditions, which he’ll get now.

Hooper
4g Rip Van Winkle – Earth Amber
Pump & Plant Services Ltd
6-12
RPR 116h

He won at Stratford but was second at Market Rasen last time, which was annoying as he probably shouldn’t have been beaten. He’ll put that right soon.

Hurling Magic
6g Doyen – Distelle
Owners Group 035
2/ (point-to-point)
RPR 89p

He was going pleasingly a year ago but had a problem and we put him away, which won’t hurt him. He’s a fine prospect and I’m looking forward to him.


I Am Maximus
4g Authorized – Polysheba
Claudio Michael Grech
1
RPR 125b

It’s great to have Mike Grech back in the yard and this is a lovely horse who was impressive at Cheltenham on his debut recently, but we’ll go quietly as he’s all about the future. I doubt we’ll go hurdling this season as he’s only a baby and we want to mind him, but he’ll be very good.

Igor
7g Presenting – Stravinsky Dance
Mhankin Cnoell Menholding Rwaley-Cohen
216640-
RPR 131h OR 130h

He produced some solid displays over hurdles but is an out-and-out chaser and could be good over fences. He stays and copes with soft ground.

Indian Glory
5m Fame And Glory – Real Papoose
International Plywood (Importers) Ltd
9-
RPR 85b

She’s better than her Huntingdon run and is going well now.

It Sure Is
5g Shirocco – Stay At Home Mum
Mrs J Donnelly
248-
RPR 125h OR 125h

He’s a gorgeous horse who is better than he’s shown as things didn’t work out last term. He’s done well over the summer and goes chasing.


Janika might not be easy to place
Janika might not be easy to place, Photo: Alan Crowhurst

Janika
7g Saddler Maker – Majaka
Simon Munir & Isaac Souede
4/14442-
RPR 167c OR 162c

His Haldon Gold Cup victory last year was sweet as it’s not easy to find opportunities for him. He’s had his soft palate cauterised and we’ll try to stick to two and a half miles, maybe mixing hurdles and fences if he continues to come up short in Grade 1s.

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Jen’s Boy
6g Malinas – Friendly Craic
Middleham Park Racing CV
42-222P
RPR 123c OR 115c

We switched him to fences in the summer and he barely put a foot wrong, finishing second three times, but he pulled some muscles at Cheltenham last time, which was his final run for a while anyway as he’s a top-of-the-ground. He’ll be fine and we’ll see him in the spring.


Known
6g Fame And Glory – Aasleagh Lady
The Rose And Thistle Partnership
4453-3
RPR 120h OR 119h

The handicapper responded accordingly to his third in a typically hot Newbury novice hurdle and he’ll take a step forward from his outing at Ascot on Saturday. Wants two and a half miles and fences in time.


L’Ami Serge
10g King’s Theatre – La Zingarella
Simon Munir & Isaac Souede
81/7/27P-
RPR 162h OR 152h

It was great to have him back last season. He’s been a smashing horse and showed he retained his ability when going close in Ascot’s Long Walk Hurdle. We probably need to think about two and a half miles when it’s testing. I’d love to see him shine again this term.

Laughing Luis
6g Authorized – Leitzu
John Sillett
71519/3-
RPR 125h OR 125h

He was progressive over hurdles two seasons ago but got a leg and is slowly coming back. I’m hopeful he’ll pick up where he left off.

Lecale’s Article
6g Malinas – Brookville
Mrs J Donnelly
1/ (point-to-point)
RPR 93p

He’s a big, strong horse, a prepossessing future chaser. He’d delighted us at home but suffered a tendon injury so he’s been off. I suppose we’ll start over hurdles on some genuine winter ground.

Lelantos
4g Presenting – Western Focus
Middleham Park Racing Xci
3
RPR 95b

He ran a promising race in his bumper at Hexham and will have learned a lot.

Lilly Pedlar
5m Yeats – Mathine
Hot To Trot Jumping
7/5-
RPR 92b

She’s big but lean and might always be. She schooled plenty at the backend of last season and is ready for hurdling.

Lust For Glory
7m Getaway – Maisie Presenting
Annabel Waley-Cohen And Family
05/2042-
RPR 119c OR 134c

We’ve always had a high opinion of this attractive mare. Her future is over fences, but the one caveat is that good ground is terribly important.


Marie’s Rock
5m Milan – By The Hour
Middleham Park Racing XLII
111-
RPR 136h OR 144h

She missed her big day in the mares‘ novice at Cheltenham after a stress fracture, which wasn’t serious. She’s summered well, has an enormous engine and is exciting. We’ve tinkered with her soft palate and hopefully she’s top class.

Mengli Khan
7g Lope De Vega – Danielli
M A R Blencowe
33-1641
RPR 155c OR 148c

He’s got some first-rate form in Ireland and looked as good as ever last time. We bought him for Michael Blencowe, who has some youngsters with us but wanted a ready-made runner to have some fun with while we wait for those babies. Buying off Gordon Elliott may seem slightly strange, but the change of scenery might help.

Might Bite (Nico de Boinville, right) and On The Blind Side (Jerry McGrath) enjoy a schooling session
Might Bite (Nico de Boinville, right) and On The Blind Side (Jerry McGrath) enjoy a schooling session, Photo: Edward Whitaker

Might Bite
11g Scorpion – Knotted Midge
The Knot Again Partnership
P/UP37-5
RPR 173c OR 152c

We’ve had some magical days with him, including his crazy RSA success, King George triumph and heroic Gold Cup second, although the wheels came off last season. Saturday at Ascot, however, was miles better – terrific – and we were thrilled with him. It was the old Might BIte enjoying himself. He got tired on that ground, but was entitled to. The plan was one run and then head down the cross-country route because he loved that last term. 

Mill Green
8g Black Sam Bellamy – Ceilidh Royal
Mrs Rita Brown
343/1P6-
RPR 140h OR 141h

He was progressive over hurdles but has the make and shape of a chaser. He stays two and a half miles, so he could get three and be a useful sort.

Mind Sunday
4f Never On Sunday – Mind Master
Walters Plant Hire Ltd
00-
RPR 64b

I don’t know a lot about this big, scopey filly. She didn’t excel in two runs in Ireland but her connections there thought a lot of her.

Miss Farage
5m Sans Frontieres – Maid Of Might
Turf Club 2018
3-112
RPR 113 OR 116h

She’s been doing well and won a bumper and maiden hurdle. I’m optimistic she can progress further.

Mister Coffey
5g Authorized – Mamitador
Lady Bamford & Alice Bamford
1/12-
RPR 127h OR 128h

He was impressive at Newbury, but his next start at Huntingdon was a catastrophe and he took off with Nico. I’ve no idea why and he didn’t have a chance to redeem himself. He wants another run over hurdles – over two miles – and then he could go chasing. 

Mister Fisher
6g Jeremy – That’s Amazing
James and Jean Potter
8/72114-
RPR 160c OR 155c

We’ve always held him in the highest regard and he won twice over fences before coming fourth in the Marsh at Cheltenham on soft ground, which was a fine run as he’s better on good. He looks fantastic and can progress again. I think he’ll start at two and a half miles, although three miles could be on the agenda soon. He’s in fabulous form and was electric schooling two weeks ago.

Monte Cristo
4g Montmartre – Rylara Des Brosses
Simon Munir & Isaac Souede
62141-8
RPR 124h OR 136h

Another who needed his first run, having a big blow at Aintree after getting to the third-last on the bridle. We’ve not seen the best of him.

Morning Vicar
7g Beneficial – Mary’s Little Vic
The Parishioners
317/2F-2
RPR 132c OR 129c

I was delighted with his run at Uttoxeter as he’d had a bad fall at Newbury over Christmas. He did everything right at Uttoxeter but was just caught and beaten, which happens.

My Whirlwind
5m Stowaway – Garranlea Maree
John P McManus
1/ (point-to-point)
RPR 86p

She’s beautiful but things didn’t go her way last season, so we left her. She’s back looking absolutely fabulous. She starts hurdling but is a chaser in time.

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Nanabelle
4f Archange D’Or – Lias City
Simon Munir & Isaac Souede
115-0
RPR 121h OR 125h

Won twice in France and running her at Market Rasen in February after she’d only just arrived was a mistake. She needed her run at Cheltenham two weeks ago, but we had to get her started.

No Ordinary Joe
4g Getaway – Shadow Dearg
John P McManus
Unraced

He excited us in the spring as he prepared for the sales bumper at Newbury. He’s a cracking prospect and could start in a bumper, but he jumps for fun. He has a fantastic future.


Ok Corral
10g Mahler – Acoola
John P McManus
11P/091-
RPR 157c OR 153c

He wasn’t easy to train as a youngster but has improved with age and won January’s Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster, which was his prep for the National. I hope we can have a really good go at Aintree this time. I looked forward to watching the virtual Grand National in the spring, which I thought he was sure to win having starred in one of the most renowned trials. But, would you believe it, he refused, and that to me was about the biggest insult in the whole of last season!

On The Blind Side
8g Stowaway – Such A Set Up
A D Spence
2/4P231-
RPR 152c OR 145c

He’s hard to place and is high enough in the handicap but he probably prefers small fields. He won an all-weather bumper at Newcastle in February, but racing ended before we could see if it got his confidence back.

One Handsome Dude
5g Canford Cliffs – Allegrina
Steve & Jolene De’Lemos
340/0-
RPR 99b

He had a few bumper runs and has thrived over the summer, so I hope he can make a name for himself over hurdles.

Overpriced Mixer
3g Harbour Watch – Chincoteague
Owners Group 051

1
RPR 110h

That was an amazing performance at Kempton two weeks ago when he jinked going to the last and the saddle slipped. Nico did well to stay on top before the horse picked up again and won well.


Palladium
4g Champs Elysees – Galicuix
A Meade, G Van Geest, E Kelvin-Hughes
211P-7
RPR 135h OR 135h

He did well as a juvenile last winter but I was disappointed with him at Market Rasen. I thought two and a half miles would suit him down to the ground.

Paris Dixie
5m Champs Elysees – Last Of The Dixies
Owners Group 037
0331/2
RPR 110h

She ran a bold race at Chepstow last month having been off for a long time. It was a very good comeback performance and we’ll have some fun with her.

Paros
3g Masterstroke – Soft Blue
Middleham Park Racing CXXV
1-

He impressed at Dieppe in May. He seems an ideal juvenile and exciting type for the Middleham Park team. I imagine he’ll want some cut.

Patroclus
4g Shirocco – King’sandqueen’s
Walters Plant Hire and James & Jean Potter
2- (point-to-point)
RPR 90p

A powerful, striking future chaser, he’ll be hurdling first and has pace, so I hope he’ll enjoy a constructive season. I absolutely love him.

Pipesmoker
5g Authorized – Pisa
Lady Dulverton
232-
RPR 135h OR 137h

Mindful of his novice status, we ran him in grown-up races last season, but he was eyecatching and his maiden tag is a huge bonus. He’s had a fabulous summer and it will be disappointing if he isn’t among my leading novice hurdlers.

Pistol Whipped
6g Beneficial – Holiday Time
A Speelman & M Speelman
1P/1F50-
RPR 141c OR 134c

He shaped with promise over fences last term and can improve as he’s developed considerably during the off-season. We’ve removed a sarcoid [skin tumour] off his wither and it’s taken six weeks to clear up, which is frustrating as he should be out now.

Post War
9g Nayef – Antebellum
The Duke Of Bedford & Dr Jerome Poupel
36/13/6-
RPR 114c OR 123c

He’s big and had time off before his debut over fences at Newbury, which was encouraging. I’ve no doubt he’ll make a useful staying chaser on soft ground if he remains in one piece.

Precious Cargo
7g Yeats – Kilbarry Classic
Thomas Barr
16/123F-
RPR 151c OR 145c

He’s huge. He did well over fences last term and has enjoyed an excellent summer in the field. I’d like to think he’ll improve. I think he wants soft ground and possibly three miles even though he’s won over two. I adore him.

Pym
7g Stowaway – Liss Rua
Mrs Patricia Pugh
0/211PP-
RPR 151c OR 150c

Honest and uncomplicated, he shone when switched to fences but didn’t fire on bad ground in the Reynoldstown and the RSA was probably a bit tough. He came out of all that in fine fettle and can step up again.


Rather Be
9g Oscar – Irish Wedding
Eventmasters Racing
12/B59P/
RPR 153c OR 143c

A talented novice chaser in 2017-18, he bumped into a problem which forced us to draw stumps, but he’s in full work and remains a smart prospect. It would be great to get him back to his best.

Rathhill
7g Getaway – Bella Venezia
John P McManus
14/00-
RPR 138h OR 133h

He made a wonderful start for us but then disappointed in the Tolworth and it’s been the same story since with issues and interruptions. However, he has potential as a chaser and has been schooling and schooling and schooling, and it’s gone magnificently. He could be a top-class horse and I believe in him big time, even if other people don’t.


Star quality

Santini looks on good terms with himself under Billy Aprahamian
Santini looks on good terms with himself under Billy Aprahamian, Photo: Edward Whitaker

Santini
8g Milan – Tinagoodnight
Mr & Mrs R Kelvin-Hughes
132/112-
RPR 175c OR 172c

He’s never put a foot wrong. It wasn’t an earth-shattering start to last season at Sandown, but the plan had been to get to the Gold Cup via the Cotswold Chase, which he was great in. I’m proud of what he did for an inexperienced horse in the Gold Cup when he jumped beautifully but probably lacked a gear. He looks tremendous, bigger than ever, and I hope there’s improvement en route to the Gold Cup, although I don’t think that will involve lots of races. We’ll try to start in Haydock’s Betfair Chase and then I suspect it’ll be the Cotswold Chase, but there’s only one day that matters and it’s in March.

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Scarpia
6g Sans Frontieres – Bunglasha Lady
Mrs T Brown
24-
RPR 107b

He ran with credit in bumpers, although his Fakenham run was trainer error as that’s not a great track for a scopey individual. He’s schooled nicely so we’re looking forward to hurdling. 

Settie Hill
7g Cape Blanco – Claire Soleil
Michael Buckley & Lord Vestey
92/1U1/3-
RPR 139h OR 140h

He’s fragile but talented. He could be a smart hurdler if we get a clean run, but he has the build for fences when the time comes.


Star quality

Shishkin
6g Sholokhov – Labarynth
Mrs J Donnelly
1/F111-
RPR 162h OR 159h

He made considerable physical progress last summer and was impressive at Newbury after falling there. He was then even better in the Sidney Banks and showed tremendous pace, so we plumped for the Supreme, which he was lucky not to be carried out in. Nico managed to get him back in the race and it was a phenomenal performance considering that. He’s got the lot and you could see him as a Champion Hurdle horse, but the Arkle’s his objective. He schooled over fences for the first time two Thursdays ago and I’ve only seen two other horses do what he did. They were both big, both ran in the Supreme, won the Arkle and won the Champion Chase, but I’m not going to say any more! What Shishkin did was unreal.


Son Of Camas
5g Creachadoir – Camas
Sullivan Bloodstock Limited
0113P-
RPR 131h OR 133h

We’re fond of him and he’s a big future over fences – he could be top class. He’s had a wind operation over the summer and could improve for time and going two and a half miles.

Just some of Nicky Henderson's awesome string on his Lambourn gallops recently
Just some of Nicky Henderson’s awesome string on his Lambourn gallops recently, Photo: Edward Whitaker

Steal A March
5g Mount Nelson – Side Step
The Queen
4414-
RPR 117h OR 115h

He’s potentially very nice. He jumps accurately and should stay well. Chasing is likely to be on the menu, but there might be unfinished business over hurdles first.

Storm Of Intrigue
8g Oscar – Storminoora
Oscar Singh & Miss Priya Purewal
10/3/
RPR 129h

Last seen in a hot novice hurdle at Newbury, he’s had niggles but everything is going the right way now. He’s a gorgeous big type and seems all over a chaser. I love him.

Style De Garde
6g Kapgarde – Anowe De Jelois
Highclere Thoroughbred Racing – Style
R2203/3
RPR 138h OR 132h

He’s had a slightly chequered career, but there’s no doubt he’s got ability and he’ll do well if everything stays in place.

Sunrise Ruby
6m Sholokhov – Maryota
Blunt, Breslin, Duffy, Slattery
3/225-11
RPR 127h OR 128h

She should have won last season but has made up for lost time by winning twice this autumn. She’s undoubtedly going the right way.


Terrefort
7g Martaline – Vie De Reine
Simon Munir & Isaac Souede
21/432P/
RPR 164c OR 157c

He was a revelation for us as a novice chaser with Grade 1 wins in the Scilly Isles and Mildmay, but things have not panned out since and last season was a write-off when he shook up a leg and contracted a disease that resulted in him losing his nearside [left] eye. Many horses deal with that and he’s got a marvellous temperament, so I think he’ll cope and we know he’s got the ability.

The Bomber Liston
4g Yeats – True Britannia
John P McManus
3
RPR 103b

He ran at Ffos Las the other day and everything went wrong, but he’s a lovely horse for hurdling.

The Cashel Man
8g High Chaparral – Hadarama
Mrs Fitri Hay
11210-4
RPR 121c OR 142c

The most amazingly consistent horse on the Flat and over hurdles, he made his chasing debut last month and probably didn’t need three miles first time out, but it was somewhere to go and he jumped well. He did nothing wrong and just tired.

Theinval
10g Smadoun – Kineeves
Mr & Mrs Sandy Orr
936/FP5-
RPR 154c OR 140c

He’s a tremendous performer and one of the most consistent horses we’ve had, although he doesn’t want to be in front too early. He loves fast ground so we hope to have this lovable character out for the better races.

Timberman
5g Califet – Millrock Lady
J Turner
25-
RPR 119h

He ran well on his debut but then disappointed over hurdles last season and racing ended before we could restart. Putting him in the field has been to his benefit and he jumps terrifically, so the outlook is bright.

Time Flies By
5g Getaway – What A Mewsment
John P McManus
1235-
RPR 131h

Being a maiden over hurdles will stand him in good stead and I hope he’s an exciting youngster for the top novices. He does everything right and could go far.

Top Notch
9g Poliglote – Topira
Simon Munir & Isaac Souede
10P/113-
RPR 169c OR 159c

He’s just a star. He’s won every season he’s been here and is a delight to have around. His first target will be to win the Peterborough Chase for the third time and we could give him a prep over fences or hurdles. 


Valtor
11g Nidor – Jossca
Simon Munir & Isaac Souede
0/1532-0
RPR 159c OR 150c

A grand servant who went with zest for a long way at Ascot on Saturday, but he’s a lazy horse at home so might take more getting ready than some, especially at his age, although that means he’s eligible for veterans‘ races, which might open some good doors.

Vegas Blue
5m Getaway – Bella Venezia
Crimbourne Bloodstock
115-1
RPR 123h

She bolted up at Huntingdon last month, which she probably should have done last season. She’s another exciting Getaway mare for her team.

Verdana Blue
8m Getaway – Blue Gallery
Mrs Doreen Tabor
151/4-22
RPR 163h OR 155h

Wetherby on Saturday was frustrating, but she ran a good race and travelled strongly. She just doesn’t find her gear change on that soft ground, but stayed on and jumped well. Conditions were also against her at Royal Ascot and in the Ebor, but she still ran fantastically. She’s back safe and sound so we’ll crack on and discuss plans with Michael and Doreen Tabor.

Versatility 
6g Yeats – Stravinksy Dance
Barrow Boys 2
1349-U5
RPR 124c OR 121c

He’s had two runs over fences this autumn and is getting there. He’s a good, solid soldier who keeps improving. He’ll run again soon.

Voyage De Retour
8g Craigsteel – Taipers
Mrs Robert Bingley
6/3-8
RPR 118h

He’s had all sorts of problems but the Bingleys are the most lovely people so I’m desperate for him to do well. He should improve for his recent run at Lingfield and can win a novice hurdle soon.

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Welsh Saint 
6g Saint Des Saints – Minirose
Walters Plant Hire & Potter Group
F21310-
RPR 139h OR 138h

His run in the Pertemps Final was disappointing but he’d been encouraging otherwise. He switches to fences as he’s always been a sound jumper. He’s back bigger and stronger.

Whatswrongwithyou
9g Bienamado – Greenfield Noora
Seven Barrows Limited
178/P57-
RPR 146c OR 137c

He’s a consistent sort who runs at the major festivals. He relishes soft ground but wants further than two miles now.

Whitlock
5g Dutch Art – Barynya
Lady Lloyd-Webber
8
RPR 84h

He disappointed at Ludlow recently when I thought he’d go close. He dropped out horribly quickly, but I like him a lot.

Will Carver
5g Califet – Rock Angel
Owners Group 064
F41- (point-to-point)
RPR 87p

He’s a wonderful prospect from the point sphere. He looks the part and could be exciting for his big team of supporters.


Simonsig's half-brother Dusart is put through his paces under Jerry McGrath
Simonsig’s half-brother Dusart is put through his paces under Jerry McGrath, Photo: Edward Whitaker

Unraced horses

As usual we have a host of mouthwatering youngsters at Seven Barrows and they include Dusart, a big, athletic half-brother to our dear friend Simonsig who has a superb temperament and a great way of going. Like Simonsig, he’s owned by Ronnie Bartlett.

Robert Kirkland has Italian Legend, who gives us the right vibes and hopefully it won’t be long before he runs. He’s got pace and jumps well.

Percussion, an attractive gelding for the Casablanca Mix team who is straightforward to deal with, and Valsheda, a spectacular, big boy with a delightful temperament who’ll carry the Santini silks of Richard and Lizzie Kelvin-Hughes, are other five-year-olds to note.

Doddiethegreat was weak in the spring but has matured and strengthened into a horse of immense upside. I don’t know much about him but hope he’s as talented as Honeysuckle for owner Kenny Alexander.

I love Firestep so much I recently bought his three-year-old half-sister. He’s owned by Charlie Dingwall and some pals and does everything right.

The Queen’s Rapid Flight jumps beautifully and would have run in a backend bumper if there’d been a backend, although lockdown was probably in Mot A Mot’s favour as he was a big, weak baby. He’s bigger and stronger now and has loads of potential for Dai Walters and James and Jean Potter.

Thomas Barr’s Blairgowrie is probably in the same camp. He looks magnicent so we’ll push on when the ground is suitable.

Doddiethegreat loose schooling at Henrietta Knight's
Doddiethegreat loose schooling at Henrietta Knight’s, Photo: Edward Whitaker

I couldn’t resist buying Major Sting, who is stunning, as I’m still a fan of Scorpion – Might Bite’s sire – and his granddam Will I Or Wont I is a sister to Amtrak Express, who was our first winner after we moved to Seven Barrows in 1992 under a certain Charlie Vigors.

Moonlight Flit, a Getaway, will be in the Thurloe Thoroughbreds colours and looks a bit special, while At Poets Cross is related to the talented At Fishers Cross and is a promising youngster who was going nicely in the spring. He’ll represent the Henry Ponsonby brigade, which also has Commodore Miller, a three-year-old who could come to hand earlier than some and appears the part, and a fabulous unnamed Blue Bresil to dream about.

Surrey Racing’s sharp Surrey Quest might be an ideal candidate for the sales bumper at Newbury in March, for which they would have had Gran Luna last season but for Covid-19.

Unique Financial Partnership can look forward to the handsome Russian Ruler, who is by Shishkin’s sire Sholokhov from Special Tiara’s family, and Clean Getaway, an exceptional model who might not take long, which could be the same for Hyland, a striking Turgeon for the Speelmans.

Altior’s unnamed Milan half-brother is imposing and talented and appears the finished article for Sue Magnier, who has a knockout Fame And Glory four-year-old with Pat Shanahan, while Jared Sullivan and Chris Giles own a Yeats four-year-old with no end of potential.

The Middleham Park team have a trio of exciting three-year-olds, including a cracking Kapgarde gelding, an outstanding Universal and a Blue Bresil with wonderful presence.

I was over the moon to get a Walk In The Park three-year-old for Michael Blencowe, who also has an athletic Mount Nelson to make a note of. 

The programme for mares seems to get better and better and we have some gorgeous types, including Santini’s High Chaparral half-sister for JP McManus and the Queen’s Hamilton’s Fantasy, who was ready in the spring and can hopefully make up for lost time, while I imagine we’ll start Amazing Presence, who is owned by Sharon Kinsella and Jane Allison, in a bumper. She’s lovely.

Barely Famous is from the family of Bond’s Lover and our old ally Captain Conan and I know she did some nice work in Ireland in the spring. We can’t wait to run her, probably in a bumper for the Hanburys.

Parisian Blue is the latest Getaway filly for the Crimbourne Bloodstock axis that had such fun with Verdana Blue. She could go hurdling but has shown enough to suggest she’d win a bumper, and I hope that’s the case with Miss Fisher, the Potter family’s Libertarian half-sister to Mister Fisher. She’d have run in a spring bumper and run very well.

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Rosemary Tennant has had horses with us for many years and hopefully we can have some fun with Meadowsweet, who has shown a considerable amount.

Fantastic Lady is an attractive and professional half-sister to Casablanca Mix for the same connections and jumps so well we might not bother with a bumper.

Marmalaid is an adorable new three-year-old and I can’t wait to see what she’s capable of for Dominic Burke and Peter Alderson, while Tweed Skirt is beautiful and if she’s as good as she looks we could be in business.

We also have some three-year-old geldings who could be anything for sale, starting with Rudy Caprice, a fantastic-moving son of Sholokhov.

There’s a fine Flemensfirth, a Doctor Dino who has been a pleasure to deal with and a grand Getaway, who could come to hand quickly, which may also apply to a quality Sinndar.


Two for the tracker

Son Of Camas should be a high-class novice chaser and Pipesmoker is a novice hurdler to follow.


Expert view

The problem with trying to pick horses to follow out of Nicky Henderson’s yard is trying not to be too obvious.

The likes of Shishkin, Epatante, Champ and Santini all pick themselves, while the pre-season talk about Sprinter Sacre’s half-brother Flinteur Sacre has almost conferred upon him superstar status without him ever jumping in public.

My three from the yard will hopefully slide a little bit further under the radar, starting with Glynn, who is probably going to have to go handicapping having won his sole start in a maiden hurdle at Doncaster in January by a ridiculously easy 11 lengths.

The fifth, sixth and seventh, all beaten in excess of 30 lengths, all finished second next time and there’s little doubt Glynn has the potential to turn into a very useful hurdler this season.

That success was over just shy of two and a half miles so it will be interesting to see where he goes in terms of trip, but he certainly didn’t look short of speed.

Marie’s Rock feels like the one who got away last season as I had some fancy prices about her for the mares‘ novice hurdle, but she suffered a minor stress fracture and missed the race – although she might have been in trouble anyway considering how well Concertista won.

It’s good to hear that Henderson is still excited by her though, and her change of gear, so evident when she ran clean away from her rivals in a Listed novice at Taunton when last seen, is going to be a potent weapon.

She has a long way to go if she is to give Henderson a first win in the Mares‘ Hurdle at Cheltenham (and Britain only a third), but don’t be surprised if she lines up with a chance come March.

Precious Cargo made a promising start to his chase career last term and may well have a good handicap prize in him. Although arguably beaten when he came down two out in the novice handicap chase won by Imperial Aura at the festival, it would be foolish to think the trip got to him given his pedigree.

He had jumped beautifully from the front until then in a really competitive race full of well-handicapped novices, so I wouldn’t worry about that fall. That was also his first attempt in a handicap and in a big field over obstacles and, given his size and the fact he has run only four times over fences, you would expect him to really come into his own this season.

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Nicky Henderson Stable Tour
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