Horse RacingJump Racing

Nicky Henderson: “We’re in good shape and we know L’ami Serge goes well fresh”

December 20, 2019

THE horses continue to be in great form and the team enjoyed a good weekend at Cheltenham with five winners over the two days. Obviously Call Me Lord was the highlight in the Unibet International Hurdle and the fact he won going left handed means there are a lot more options open to him now.

That race was very much his ‘Champion Hurdle’ but who’s to say he won’t end up in the main one in March as he’s shown he’s an extremely capable person and can mix it with the best over two and two and a half miles. We have not looked at where he’ll go next but races like the Contenders Hurdle at Sandown, a track he has a great record at, could enter the equation along with The New One Unibet Champion Hurdle Trial at Haydock.

Pentland Hills ran a very good race and travelled like the winner two out but just took a blow so he’ll definitely strip fitter next time and it’s just a case of finding the best races for all of them as we’ve got three in the Christmas Hurdle on Boxing Day so will have a much better idea of running plans after Christmas. Mister Fisher was very good in the Novice Chase and certainly wasn’t stopping at the end so I’d imagine we’ll stick to 2m4f for the time being but he’ll definitely get further in time.

Chantry House made a winning hurdles debut and is learning all the time. He’s not the finished article so we’ll probably try and play it low key for the moment and Pym is quickly developing into a very smart novice chaser who has taken his form to a brand new level since being switched to the larger obstacles. He’s now two from three over fences and we’ll have to look at stepping him up again now with something like the Reynoldstown Chase back at Ascot as a possibility.

Never Adapt once again was quite free with Barry in the Handicap Hurdle but still stayed on to finish her race really well and that will have blown the cobwebs away so hopefully next time she’ll run a much more relaxed race and her winning opportunity won’t be far away.
 

ASCOT

1:15 Graduation Chase

On The Blind Side (Nico de Boinville)

Things didn’t go his way in the Ladbroke Trophy last time so I’ve come to the conclusion that he’s definitely happier in small fields and the drop back to 2m5f will help him too. You’d have to be concerned about the ground but it’s the same for all of them so hopefully he’ll handle it. He’s come out of Newbury in good shape and on his best form has every chance.

 

1:50 Handicap Chase

Kobrouk (Nico de Boinville)

He came to us last spring from France and we probably over faced him first time out in a good race at Aintree so we gave him a nice break over the summer and he came back and put up a very good performance when third over hurdles at Huntingdon. He’s a very keen horse and needs to learn to settle but that run will have put him spot on and he jumps fences well but Nico will need to have eaten his weetabix because he’ll need plenty of strength to hold him. He’s won of very soft in France so I’ve got no worries on that front.

 

2:25 G1 Marsh Hurdle

L’ami Serge (Nico de Boinville)

He’s been off for absolutely yonks but I still believe he retains plenty of ability and this is a very good starting point. We worked him with Altior and William Henry last week and I was pleased with what he did so we arrive here in good shape and we know he goes well fresh. Obviously Paisley Park will be incredibly tough to beat but this is a valuable purse so we might as well give it a go.

 

3:35 Handicap Hurdle

French Crusader (Nico de Boinville)

His run behind Epatante was excellent and was a massive step up but I am very concerned about the ground as he doesn’t want it like a bog so we’ll be monitoring conditions throughout the afternoon. He’s on the upgrade, however, and is a horse we like but the heavy ground is a major issue.

Unibet are paying AN EXTRA PLACE on this race. T&Cs apply.

Countister (Barry Geraghty)

She ran a decent race in the Unibet Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham on her seasonal debut and while she was pretty straight for it, the outing will still have brought her forward and she’s been dropped a few pounds in the weights as well. The ground isn’t a problem as she handled it in France and is a tough mare who won’t disgrace herself.

 

HAYDOCK

12:25 Novices’ Chase

Precious Cargo (Jerry McGrath)

He’s a very big strong horse who came to us from Lucinda Russell’s last year where he’d already won a bumper for her at Ayr before winning two over hurdles for us, although chasing was always going to be his game. The heavy going won’t be a problem at all and we tinkered with his wind during he summer as he made a bit of a noise after Aintree, but he’s built for jumping fences and this looks an ideal starting point.

 

Despite there being no racing for the next few days, it will be business as usual at @sevenbarrows as we get ready for a busy festive period with runners aplenty. Fusil Raffles, Verdana Blue and Epatante will both take their chance in the G1 Christmas Hurdle so be sure to check back here on Christmas Eve for my thoughts on their chances and our other runners up and down the country.