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Nicky Henderson on His Weekend Runners

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Unibet Ambassador and top trainer , Nicky Henderson gives his thoughts on his weekend runners including Fusil Raffles in the Unibet Elite Hurdle at WIncanton.


”…We’ll know a lot more about whether he’s a Unibet Champion Hurdle contender…”




3:00pm G2 Unibet Elite Hurdle

Fusil Raffles (Daryl Jacob)

I wasn’t sure if he would be quite ready for this, but over the past ten days he’s really come on plenty and Daryl came and schooled him earlier this week, so we made the decision to come here and I’m very happy with where we are with him. It was a shame we were forced to miss Cheltenham and Aintree, but maybe it was a blessing in disguise as he was brilliant at Punchestown when I still thought he was awfully short (of work), but he did the job in great style.

To be honest he hadn’t shown much before the Adonis, so that victory was also something of a surprise by the manner of the way he did it. He’s grown a lot over the summer and will definitely make a chaser one day, but for the time being this is the route we’re going and we’ll know a lot more about whether he’s a Unibet Champion Hurdle contender or not. I very much doubt he will run in the Unibet Greatwood Hurdle next week as he already has top weight and would then incur a penalty, so it’s more than highly unlikely.




12:20pm Novices’ Handicap Chase

Follow The Bear (Jerry McGrath)

He’s won a Point to Point and is definitely going to make a chaser and I thought he ran a great race when second on his chase debut at Worcester in September. I’m not convinced he really wants it this soft and I’m a bit nervous going back down in trip but stamina may come into play which will aid his cause.


Champagne Mystery (Nico De Boinville)

He makes his chase debut but has been placed in a Point to Point and jumps very well. To be honest, he’s a very swift horse with plenty of speed and this track will really suit his running style. I like him a lot.


3:15pm Virgin Bet Hurdle

Top Notch (Nico de Boinville)

Everyone absolutely adores this horse and the place wouldn’t be the same without him. We’ve ran a few horses in this race as a stepping stone to other things and the Peterborough Chase is the first target for him. He’s as fit as I can get him at home, but will definitely improve so might not be as sharp as some of the others.




1:50pm Maiden Hurdle

Keen On (Nico de Boinville)

He proved he handled soft ground when we took him up to Perth in the summer and I thought he ran a very good race to finish second. He was entered over 2m4f at Aintree, but 2m round Sandown is a great place to start and this is an ideal race to kick off his hurdling career.


2:25pm Intermediate Chase

Santini (Nico de Boinville)

We have used this race for many of our second season novices, including Might Bite who won it a couple of years ago, as it’s a nice reintroduction and the time/conditions suit perfectly. This isn’t a penalty kick and he will definitely need the run, but we have to get him started somewhere and this will put him right for the rest of the season.

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

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