Nicky Henderson on course to surpass Willie Mullins’ dominant Cheltenham Festival record

PUBLISHED: 16:10 17 January 2019 | UPDATED: 16:44 17 January 2019

New Year Meeting at Cheltenham Racecourse (Photo by David Davies/PA Wire)

New Year Meeting at Cheltenham Racecourse (Photo by David Davies/PA Wire)

PA Wire

From his stables in Hungerford, Nicky Henderson has continued to better himself as a professional horse trainer, leading to further wins at the most coveted horse racing events.

The appetites are truly whetted by several meetings during the season, but no period is quite as enthralling as March, where Cheltenham Festival opens its gates. Born in Berkshire, Nicky Henderson carried on the work handed over to him by his father - Johnny Henderson.

The ties to Berkshire were strong enough to keep his roots set, leaving no option but to remain at his stables at Seven Barrows, where he’s developed them into some of the best in the UK, housing over 150 horses. 

Fans of horse racing are anticipating a landslide for Nicky Henderson entries

In a number of polls created by The Winners Enclosure, questions were asked on how unbeatable Nicky Henderson’s horses would be at Cheltenham Festival. Nicky currently has a total of 63 horses listed as possible entries into Cheltenham, with changes set to be made as he identifies the best races for each horse. There’s no chance that horses like Altior and Might Bite would be entered into every race, as Nicky Henderson and his team need to prioritise accordingly, but the results from a vote on the outcome of each hypothetical meeting present the clear from his most highly-regarded horses.

From all horses in training at Seven Barrows stable, Altior not only stands as one of the best horses currently in circulation, but he’s also proven his pedigree at Cheltenham, winning three grade 1 races in succession, so an entry into the 2019 Ryanair Chase would surely see him as a big fish in a small pond. This theory was proven after a poll on The Winners Enclosure Twitter page, as over 1,000 horse racing fans speculated over how four highly-rated horses would fare, resulting in 823 people voting for Altior to take a clear win.

Currently listed as an entry into the 2019 Queen Mother Champion Chase, The Winners Enclosure asked the same question for a different race meeting. A horse that featured in both was Footpad. Altior as the clear winner once again with 82% percent of the vote. Bookmakers see this as being an intriguing battle between Altior and Footpad, but the odds also judge the Nicky Henderson horse as being the favourite by a distance.

Other Nicky Henderson horses that amplified the trainer’s skill for winning some of the most difficult races include Might Bite, Buveur d’Air, Santini, and Sprinter Sacre. Buveur d’Air is set to run in the Champion Hurdle and Santini is the clear favourite for The RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase

In terms of the Gold Cup, Presenting Percy sits first in the bookie’s estimations, followed by Native River, Clan Des Obeaux, Kemboy, and Thistlecrack. The price on each horse will fluctuate up until the race, but The Winners Enclosure asked their followers who they see causing an upset based on those who have seen a drop in price.

Based on over 200 votes, Might Bite’s change from 16/1 to 12/1 was pitted against a change of 20/1 to 14/1 for Al Boum Photo, a change of 33/1 to 25/1 for Definitly Red, and a change of 33/1 to 25/1 for Elegant Escape. Nicky Henderson was once again a trusted figure, sealing 36% of the vote.

Obstacles along the road to improving upon his Cheltenham record

Nicky Henderson has automatically been drawn into competition with Willie Mullins and the pair are only split at Cheltenham Festival by a single win: Henderson with 60 and Mullins with 61.

Might Bite has suffered a variety of injuries but is supposedly set for competing in The Gold Cup, with any other races beforehand coming too soon. Based on past performances, Might Bite should be fit enough to run in this year’s Gold Cup, but even if there were to be any serious issues that change between now and the race, fans of Nicky Henderson’s horses will be sure to find some success in his other horses.

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