NICKY HENDERSON had to run the gauntlet of racing his team with a necessary flu vaccination shortly before the Cheltenham Festival 12 months ago but still managed to notch up the highly creditable total of four winners with kingpin Altior the star of the show with his second success in the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase.
Incredibly, Altior is attempting to gain a fifth successive victory at the Festival following earlier success in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and Arkle Trophy which would match the legendary Golden Miller who took the Gold Cup from 1932 to 1936.
Once again, Henderson is well blessed with a leading contender in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in the shape of Shishkin and with a likely five-pronged attack on the Champion Hurdle with Epatante, Pentland Hills, Call Me Lord, Fusil Raffles and Verdana Blue and the likes of Champ (RSA), Mister Fisher (Marsh Novices’ Chase) and Santini (Gold Cup) who’s to say that the Seven Barrow trainer will not be even bettering his total of last year.
“We are going to throw a lot at it with the likes of Champ and Mister Fisher in the novice chases and Shishkin and Chantry House in the novices’ hurdles, Altior and Santini and five in the Champion Hurdle and it depends what sticks. I would love Shishkin to win the first race on the first day as he has to be one of our best chances and, I have said before, that it takes the pressure off. Once you’ve got that win then you can start to enjoy it.”
Nicky kindly spoke to Tony Elves of attheraces.com about those who could make it another memorable Cheltenham Festival for the master of Seven Barrows.