Unibet HendersonUnibet Ambassador and top trainer, Nicky Henderson gives an update on a whole host of stable stars, plus his runners across a busy weekend for the Seven Barrows yard.

"...In a nutshell, this is D Day for him"....


I’m pleased to report that Buveur D’Air is doing well after the procedure to remove the piece of wood from his foot and the hoof is healing as well as can be expected. He is walking and weight bearing, so is definitely making progress but obviously we have a long way to go. It is still bandaged up so I haven’t been able to see anything underneath but everyone is very pleased so far and he’s allowed a little walk out for a few minutes and a little pick of grass a couple of times a day and there have been no complications so far.

We enjoyed a good weekend at Newbury and I thought Son Of Camas made an impressive hurdles debut last Friday where he showed a very good attitude. We’ve always liked him and could think about something like the Kennel Gate Supreme Trial at Ascot on December 21st as his next run.

Floressa was good in winning the Mares’ Hurdle on Saturday and I thought she put up an extremely good performance. She will now be kept for the Mares’ Novice at the Festival and I’m not even sure if she will have a run before Cheltenham. She’s had two quick runs so will definitely have a break until February time as she had two quite hard races. There is a Listed Mares’ race at Taunton on 30th December, but I might run Marie’s Rock in that as she was very impressive at Haydock on Wednesday.

I don’t know what happened with Champ as I was watching the race by the rail with JP and AP, so missed all of the commotion but have seen the film since and concluded it was quite a remarkable performance, as he did extremely well to come back and win like he did. He’s come out of the race in very good form and, as I said in this blog last week, the plan remains the Dipper Chase at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day.

Epatante won an interesting race on Saturday, as we know exactly what the form amounts to as she beat her two stablemates to give us a one-two-three, but there is no doubt about it, she is a very capable mare, although whether she really needed to go up 13lbs for it is debatable. We’ll see what we do next but the G1 Christmas Hurdle has been mentioned and while she has to improve again, it’s not to say we wouldn’t think about it, as that was the first race that came to mind when both myself and JP had a conversation straight afterwards.

Of the ‘also rans’, On The Blind Side was ultimately disappointing and never managed to come near to landing a blow. I have come to the conclusion that he is much better in a small field and there is a Graduation Chase at Ascot on December 22nd which looks ideal.

Downtown Getaway was pulled up by Nico who reported that the horse struggled with his breathing so he will be given a wind operation.

Many people have asked about Shiskin and he worked very well this morning, so is ready to go. Ascot is a possible starting point for him as I’m keen to keep him and Chantry House apart. Chantry will run at Cheltenham in a Novice Hurdle next week.


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SANDOWN (Saturday)



Timberman (Brian Hughes)

He ran a very good race behind Son Of Camas on his debut at Newbury, the form of which has been well and truly franked, and he’s been ready to go over hurdles for a while. To be honest with you I wasn’t going to run him here but his owner is keen to have a crack at this and as he’s fit and well and ready to go again, that’s what we’re doing. He’ll get further so this track will suit him and he goes there with every chance.

Daphne Du Clos (James Bowen)

We’ve had to be very patient with her, as she’s had lots of problems which have kept her off the track, but we’ve had a clean run for a while now and she’s a mare we have always thought a great deal of. She receives a 7lbs sex allowance which is a big help and her work has been excellent. Everything went wrong last year but she still retains an enormous amount of ability and I really like her.


Janika (James Bowen)

He put up a mighty performance in the Haldon Gold Cup which meant that this race very quickly came into the equation. I never really thought he was a two miler but Anthony Bromley suggested the drop back in trip and he was completely right, so it’s all down to him! At the weights we’re entitled to beat Dolos again and he has nothing to find on ratings so certainly deserves his place in the line up. It’s very competitive and good gallop will suit so hopefully he’ll run a big race.


Dragon D’Estruval (Daryl Jacob)

He won a novice hurdle on debut for us, but has been a little bit hit and miss ever since. That said, he’s improved a lot for his seasonal debut at Ascot and the Handicapper has dropped him a pound, although whether that’s enough, I’m not entirely sure. He’s definitely a stayer and being brutally honest, is quite a lazy one-paced horse; he works lazily and runs lazily so this stamina test will suit and he’ll like the ground. He was entered in the Becher Chase but wasn’t that fluent when we jumped him over a few National-style fences so this looked to be the best option.

AINTREE (Saturday)



Casablanca Mix (Nico De Boinville)

She was all set to run in the Sefton, but this race suddenly appeared late in the day in the programme book so we decided to swerve that in favour of this Listed Mares’ Chase. She’s a very tough mare who won a course and distance handicap in May and then followed up with facile success in the Summer Plate at Market Rasen in July. The Good to Soft ground will be right up her street and she’s well clear on ratings so, in all honesty, I’ll be surprised if she’s not up to winning.


Might Bite (Nico de Boinville)

He was never right last season, so we literally took him apart and put him right back together again and we took him away to Newbury a few weeks ago to jump a few fences and have a day out, which he really seemed to enjoy. I must admit his jumping is much better now and he’s really sharpened up in that department which is good to see.

We toyed with the idea of going to Huntingdon for the Peterborough Chase, but I have always had this race in mind and it looks a good starting point, although Native River certainly won’t make things very easy for us! We are putting a set of cheek pieces on to help him concentrate, watch what he’s doing and not worry about everybody else. He loves this track and will bounce off the ground. In a nutshell, this is D Day.


Gold Present (Jerry McGrath)

He fell at the Canal Turn in the Topham a few years ago, when he was going rather well so I’ve always been keen to come back to these fences as he’s a big strong horse who really enjoys his jumping. He’s got to carry top weight but he’s a well built horse and will love the ground. I’ve been very happy with his work and schooling and I quite fancy his chances.




Top Notch (Daryl Jacob)

He owes us nothing and I thought he put up a brilliant performance over hurdles at Aintree when he would have desperately needed it. This race has always been the plan and I couldn’t be happier with him going into it. Nico mentioned that a tongue tie might help him in his races so we’re putting one on and he’s there to give it his best shot.


Known (Nico de Boinville)

He surprised me by how well he ran last time on his seasonal debut when I thought he’d really need it, but he put up a good effort and the drop back to 2m shouldn’t be a problem. He’s a great big slow maturing type but this race fits in nicely and hopefully he can go well.

3:00pm - MARES' BUMPER

Vegas Blue (Nico de Boinville)

She won her bumper well at Bangor and is a mare we like very much. I’d say she’ll be going over hurdles sooner rather than later as she’s all ready to go but this is a very good prize and I’ve been extremely with her work.

Article by Trainer and Unibet Ambassador Nicky Henderson and used with kind permission by the Unibet Blog.

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