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Like a fine wine that gets better with age, Nicky Henderson once again displayed his vintage qualities when becoming Champion Trainer for a sixth time in the lockdown effected 2019/20 season.
His 118 winners and over £2.5 million in prize made it three titles in the past four years for the Seven Barrows trainer and the outstanding successes of Epatante (Champion Hurdle), Champ (RSA Chase), Shishkin (Supreme Novices’ Hurdle) and Dame De Compagnie (Coral Cup) clearly indicate that there are no thoughts of any retirement.
The curtailment of the season took away what could have been Nicky’s best chance yet of gaining that so far elusive Grand National victory when Sky Bet Chase winner OK Corral was denied his chance at Aintree, but he lives to fight another day.
There was a luckless spring for the stable’s main flagbearer Altior when he suffered a setback three days before the Queen Mother Champion Chase.
That winning machine will be back again and there is hope that Buveur D’Air will have a chance of bidding for a third Champion Hurdle after his season was ended when part of the hurdle was embedded in his hoof when failing by a nose to win a third Fighting Fifth at Newcastle last November.
There are a host of young horse in the novice hurdle and bumpers division along with some other older established inmates back in action and there’s little doubt that Henderson will be in the thick of the action for another trainers’ title come the spring.
Nicky kindly spoke to Tony Elves of attheraces.com about some of his top prospects at Seven Barrows for the season ahead.