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Nicky Henderson Cheltenham Team
UK Horse Racing

Nicky Henderson Cheltenham Team

55 Cheltenham Festival Winners make Nicky Henderson the all-time leading trainer at the Cheltenham Festival, and he’s been the leading trainer at 9 individual Cheltenham Festivals.

However, despite having 7 winners when he was last leading trainer in 2012, he has been put in his place by Willie Mullins for the last four years. Henderson is in the mood to wrestle back his crown in 2017 though, and he has assembled his potentially strongest Cheltenham team for some time.

Altior

Last year’s Supreme Novice Hurdle winner could easily have been the Champion Hurdle winner this year, but Henderson has stuck to his guns with a horse he believes has the potential to go to the very top over fences. Whether he’s as good as Sprinter Sacre remains to be seen, but he looks a sure-fire Arkle winner if on song on the opening day.

Buveur D’Air

Second favourite for the Champion Hurdle, and has looked decidedly useful in all his starts. Even his slightly disappointing third in last season’s Supreme looks good now considering the subsequent exploits of Altior and Min, but night want genuinely soft ground to be seen at his best.

Brain Power

Travelled like a dream when winning two big-handicaps at Sandown and Ascot this season, and it’s hard to see anything getting him off the bridle early in the Champion Hurdle if the ground rides good. He also went up the hill at Sandown with little difficulty, and it’s just a question of whether top-class handicap form translates to graded form.

Charli Parcs

Terribly disappointing in the Adonis Hurdle at Kempton on ground that should have been ideal, but Nicky Henderson’s faith in him has only been dented. Could easily bounce back in the Triumph Hurdle.

Josses Hill

Got his jumping together this year having previously been called a jumping snooker table in some quarters and, though not top-class, has an each-way chance in the Ryan Air Chase if the ground is good.

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Might Bite

Was set to put-up a terrific performance at Kempton in Boxing Day until falling at the last, and has been given a confidence booster since at Doncaster. Favourite for the RSA, but his odds have been on the drift in recent days after it was announced that stablemate Whisper will run against him.

My Tent Or Yours

Twice second in the Champion Hurdle, connections can’t resist having another pop at the big race with him. Never truly convinced he gets up the hill though, and looked in decline this season. May be his swansong.

Peace An Co

This one’s career could still be ahead of him, and it’s easy to forget just how highly-regarded he was by Henderson when he won the Triumph Hurdle. A bit of a tearaway then, he has apparently calmed down after a lengthy spell on the side-lines – and he looks a potentially extremely well-handicapped horse in the County Hurdle.

River Wylde

Stamped his claim for the Supreme Novice Hurdle when an impressive winner at Kempton and, though not as highly-rated as some going into the race, he could have plenty of improvement to come.

Top Notch

Finished a close second to Peace And Co in the Triumph Hurdle two years ago, and ran okay in the Champion Hurdle last season. Looked too small to be a natural chaser, but really seems to relish the challenge, and looks sure to go close in the JLT Chase.

Vaniteaux

A horse who so far has fallen short of top-class but is too highly-handicapped to win a big handicap. Has some decent form at Cheltenham, though his stamina is unproven for the Ryan Air Chase.

Whisper

Hot and cold performer who is dreadful at his worst but top-class at his best. Won two big 3-mile grade-1 hurdles at Aintree and a Coral Cup, and is an interesting option for the RSA Chase after winning twice at Cheltenham this season over fences.

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