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Nicky Henderson: “Sandown Novice Hurdles are always good, but so is he”

December 2, 2021January 7th, 2022

IT’S a relatively quiet weekend for us again with very few runners but those that have run have all been pretty good and our horses appear in fine shape.

I was extremely happy with Epatante in the G1 Fighting Fifth last week when she dead heated with Not So Sleepy. There’s definitely no disgrace in that and I’d sooner share the prize than lose it! She will improve for the run anyway and will head back to Kempton on Boxing Day for the G1 Christmas Hurdle, a race she was so impressive in en-route to winning the Unibet Champion Hurdle a couple of years ago.

Jonbon was electric and we clearly have a very exciting horse on our hands. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a novice jump like that and Aidan was absolutely beaming after the race. He is always going to attract plenty of attention due to his price tag but he’s going the right way and will now head to Ascot on the 17th December for the G2 Kennel Gate Novices’ Hurdle.

We won’t declare Fusil Raffles for the Peterborough Chase on Sunday because he will instead head to Cheltenham next Saturday for a crack at the December Gold Cup.

 

Friday Thoughts

We only have one runner at Sandown on Friday but it’s a pretty decent one in the shape of Bothwell Bridge in the Novices’ Handicap at 1:50. It’s his first run over fences but he’s a nice horse who has been schooling well at home. He was running in some decent races over hurdles last term but this is much more realistic and he goes there with a very obvious chance.

Mot A Mot runs in the EBF Qualifier at Exeter (12:55) off the back of an impressive hurdling debut at Worcester last month. He’s always been very good and apart from Aintree, when all of our horses ran deplorable, he’s done nothing wrong. Any rain will help his cause but he is a smart horse and should go close. Paris Dixie is yet to get her head in front for us and probably needs to produce something out of the fire to win the 1:30, but we run a nice horse called Mount Pleasant in the Bumper who is still quite green, and will come on plenty for it, but his work has been good and he’s learning all the time so hopefully will run a nice race.

 

SANDOWN SATURDAY

12:05

Constitution Hill (Nico de Boinville)

He cost £120,000 at Doncaster in May having finished second in a Point to Point which has subsequently worked out to be a pretty smart race. He’s a fine looking person who stamps a lot of class and has done everything we’ve asked of him. Sandown Novices’ are always very good but so is Constitution Hill.

 

12:40

Fable (Nico de Boinville)

She’s been a decent servant who has some very good form to her name, but I am slightly concerned about the ground because she wouldn’t want it too quick. Two and a half first time out is perfect and If she can continue her progression from last season she’d have every chance.

Barely Famous (Tom Cannon)

She’s a lovely fine mare by Fame And Glory who probably found the ground plenty quick enough at Southwell last summer therefore I would be a little bit worried about the going again, but she’s in good form at home and this is her trip.

 

WETHERBY

1:02

Go Chique (Ben Ffrench Davis)

Around three miles seems her best trip and she ran a nice race when second at Market Rasen last time. Ben’s 7lbs claim will come in very handy in a race like this and she goes there with solid claims.