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Nicky Henderson On His Weekend Runners

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Unibet Ambassador and top trainer, Nicky Henderson OBE gives his thoughts on his weekend runners for Saturday’s big meeting at Kempton, along with Fontwell and Wolverhampton.

“…The track and ground will play to Buzz’s strengths…”



12:40pm – Handicap Hurdle

Downtown Getaway (Nico de Boinville)

We’ve always liked him and he showed some smart novice form last season, but he was disappointing at Newbury on his first run back and Nico suggested a wind operation may help, so he underwent a procedure for that which will hopefully help and he’s been in very good form at home, extremely good I hasten to add.

I’d like to get him up a bit in the weights to get into the Coral Cup at Cheltenham and I suppose we’ll know more about if we go down that route after this, but the track, trip and ground will suit so I’d be extremely hopeful he can put up a decent show.

1:15pm – G2 Pendil Novices’ Chase

Pistol Whipped (Nico de Boinville)

He was very unlucky to ‘fall’ at Leicester last time, as he jumped the fence absolutely fine but seemed to get tripped up by the horse next to him, which was a great shame as he jumps and schools very well.

This is obviously a big step up, and he has to improve ratings-wise, but we might as well have a crack at a race like this and he has an entry in the Northern Trust Chase so needs to go up a few pounds if he’s to make the cut for that race.

3:02pm – G2 Dovecote Hurdle

Buzz (Nico de Boinville)

He was smart on the flat for Hughie Morrison and has made a very bright start to his hurdles career, winning at Taunton and Doncaster last time, although that was more of a flat race as they omitted all of the hurdles in the home straight, so he had to put his flat speed to good use on that occasion.

He’ll have no problem with the ground and the track will also play to his strengths so you’d have to be quite hopeful. We have him entered in a couple of races at Cheltenham but I’m not sure he’s quite ready for a test like that just yet so we’ll more than likely save him for Aintree.

4:45pm Bumper

Bothwell Bridge (Nico de Boinville)

I was very pleased with his debut at Huntingdon and I think he has definitely come on a lot for it. There are a few interesting runners in the race but Bothwell Bridge has been working well and in very good form at home so should hopefully run a big race.


3:20pm – G2 National Spirit Hurdle

William Henry (Nico de Boinville)

I’m not convinced that he really stays three miles, especially around Cheltenham, and after winning the Coral Cup off top weight last year, he’d face an even tougher task this time around off his current mark so we’ll skip Cheltenham as there’s nowhere else to go, but this looks a perfect substitute and is a valuable purse, too.

He’s not getting any younger and is a couple of pounds ‘wrong’ with Thomas Darby but hopefully he can put up a bold show, although Olly Murphy’s horse did look good at Ascot last time!


2:00pm – Bumper

Surf Walk (Jerry McGrath)

He ran very well in a bumper at Lingfield when probably over racing ever so slightly but that experience has done him the world of good and he arrives here in good shape. This is a great initiative by the BHA to stage these ‘jumpers bumpers’ so I’m very keen to support them as it allows us the opportunity to get these horses out and race on a decent surface.

Fox’s Socks (James Bowen)

He’s a nice horse who ran a solid race on debut at Warwick and very much fits into the same bracket as Surf Walk in that they should have both improved for their first runs; in fact they do a lot of their fast work together. He’ll be going jumping sooner rather than later but this is an ideal stepping stone to that.

3:00pm – Bumper

Corrany (Jerry McGrath)

This trip is probably on the short side so we’ll be making plenty use of him but he’s in excellent form at home and will like the surface so I’d be quite hopeful where he’s concerned.

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

Visit here for more blogs: www.unibet.co.uk/blog

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