Horse RacingJump Racing

Nicky Henderson: “Honeysuckle is a fierce opponent but Epatante looks a million dollars”

March 15, 2021January 7th, 2022

IT goes without saying that it is extremely disappointing news that Altior cannot take his chance in the Queen Mother Champion Chase. As I said in this very same blog on Friday this is always a very intense time for every trainer up and down the country because anything and everything can go wrong at any time and this is proof of it. The good news is however, that it’s nothing serious and he should be fine within a week or so which brings us into Aintree where he could contest the Melling Chase and then we may consider going to  Sandown for the Celebration Chase. I feel desperately sorry for the Pughs and also all of the team at home who have done such a good job in his preparation and it’s a real shame for everyone involved.       

 

CHELTENHAM TUESDAY

1:55 G1 Arkle Chase

Shishkin (Nico De Boinville)

Everything has gone to plan and his preparation has been uninterrupted after his impressive win in the Lightning Stakes at Doncaster last time. There is going to be plenty of pace on with Allmankind expected to go off out in front but Nico won’t be giving him too much rope and there shouldn’t be any issues with the ground because it will be fresh grass so they should bounce off it. I’m very happy with him going into this race and let’s hope he can get our festival off to a good flyer.

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2:30 Ultima Handicap Chase

Ok Corral (Mark Walsh)

The plan is still the Grand National so it’s a case of getting a run into him beforehand but this looks a very good opportunity and he’s a horse that goes well fresh. He’s had his problems over the years but has enjoyed a nice preparation and I think he has a very strong chance albeit in a very competitive race. Unibet are paying AN EXTRA PLACE on this race. T&Cs apply.

Pym (Nico De Boinville)

He’s also in the Grand National but likes good ground so it makes sense to give him a spin around here and he’s been in excellent shape at home. Nico schooled him the other day and was very happy so with a bit of luck he should run a nice race. Unibet are paying AN EXTRA PLACE on this race. T&Cs apply.

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3:05 G1 Unibet Champion Hurdle

Epatante (Aidan Coleman)

I must admit she looks a million dollars and her work has been very good. Aidan came and schooled her last week and she was like an arrow over her hurdles which was all we needed to see. She’s in great shape and it would be fantastic if she could retain her Unibet Champion Hurdle crown. There is the small matter of Honeysuckle to contend with, and she will be an extremely tough opponent, but our horse has had a very good lead up to this race and she is over the problems that saw her disappoint over Christmas.

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3:40 G1 Mares’ Hurdle

Dame De Compagnie (Aidan Coleman)

I was rather hoping Roksana was going to take the Stayers’ Hurdle route but unfortunately she takes her chance here and I do think she will be extremely hard to beat. That said our mare is already a winner at the course and has some rock solid form to her name so I see no reason why she cannot be there or thereabouts.

Floressa (Nico De Boinville)

I’m really excited about running this mare over two and a half because she looks like she’s been crying out for the extra distance and the track will suit as well. She is a very tough person and has some pretty strong form to her name, therefore I certainly wouldn’t be writing her off at big odds.

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