Horse RacingJump Racing

Nicky Henderson: Verdana Blue could leave people smiling, whilst Buveur D’Air seeks redemption in the Aintree Hurdle

April 3, 2019



2:20 G1 Juvenile Hurdle

Pentland Hills (Nico de Boinville)

I’ve been very happy with him since the Triumph Hurdle and he’s quickly becoming something of a celebrity in the yard with all his owners, some of which came down to see him last week. He’s always been very professional about his job and Nico was particularly impressed with him after Plumpton where he said like he felt as if he’d been jumping hurdles for years. Obviously, the Triumph was something of a surprise result but we quietly fancied him to run a big race and I think the mistake he made at the first really switched him on thereafter and he won in good style. This is a decent race, however, and looks miles better than the Triumph with the likes of Band Of Outlaws, Fakir D’oudairies and Christoper Wood in the field but I’m extremely happy with our horse, although he will have to up his game again.

Adjali (Daryl Jacob)

I’ve always liked this horse and thought he ran an okay race in the Triumph last time but I rather fancied him to go much closer as he was in great shape beforehand so I cannot be utterly confident going into this. We won this race with dear old We Have A Dream last year so it would be fantastic if he could win for Simon and Isaac after a torrid day on Saturday. I think the flatter track will also suit much better and the ground should be ideal so I wouldn’t entirely write him off.

3:25 G1 Aintree Hurdle

Buveur D’air (Barry Geraghty)

He’s so slick over his hurdles but leaves no margin for error as he’s so low over them, literally millimetres, which in the end he sadly paid the price for in the Unibet Champion Hurdle. However, he has been absolutely fine since and Barry came over and schooled him and gave him a piece of work on Saturday and was very pleased so I just hope it was a blip on his CV and we can get his career back on track here. He’s still the best hurdler in the UK and who knows what would have happened had he stood up at Cheltenham. He’s odds on and I see no reason why he can’t get his career back on track here.

Brain Power (Aidan Coleman)

He made a couple of mistakes and got hampered four out which didn’t do him any favours in the Unibet Champion Hurdle last time so Nico, quite rightly, pulled him up. However, I cannot make any real excuses for him as he had every chance going into the race so I’m not overly confident here. That said, as you all know, he is one of our best workhorses so the ability is certainly there!

Verdana Blue (Nico de Boinville)

She is very good over 2m on good/firm ground so I’m not entirely sure how she’ll cope with 2m4f on Good to Soft but she ran very well in the Unibet Champion Hurdle last time and she’s worked particularly well since. Hannah Day rides her out and is really happy with her so as long as the ground isn’t too soft she could run into a place if showing her very best form.

4:40 G3 Red Rum Chase

Theinval (Jerry McGrath)

This is his time of year and he’s been second in this race for the last two years so I’m hoping it’s a case of third time lucky this time around! He was second of 141 twelve months and then followed that effort up when winning at Ayr (on his second run in two days) off 144 so I suppose the Handicapper has him about right. Jerry knows him very well and I think he has a great chance on ground he’ll have no worries with.

Whatswrongwithyou (Nico de Boinville)

He’s much more effective with soft in the going description which is why we opted to skip Ascot last week and come here instead. He was given quite a lot to do in the Grand Annual last time so we’ll probably be a little more handy with him around here and I can see him going very well.