Henderson warms up for big week with Super victory at Stratford
NICKY Henderson's Super Kenny could have been lining up in this week's Triumph Hurdle had events not conspired against him but he made up for lost time on his British debut at Stratford yesterday.
Several issues with the former French-trained Flat winner meant Henderson had not been able to get him to the track in advance of Cheltenham's four-year-old championship and reward some antepost interest in the betting.
Compensation for owners Highclere Thoroughbred Racing -- which did not include celebrity syndicate members Gabby and Kenny Logan on this occasion -- came in the SIS Live Juvenile Novices' Hurdle.
Many leading jockeys prefer to play it safe on the eve of such an important week but Barry Geraghty thought it worth the risk over hurdles and travelled to Warwickshire for just the one ride.
Super Kenny (5/4) had jostled in the market with Ultimate and while Geraghty's mount took a long time to settle, he sat comfortably on the tail of the 10/11 favourite before imposing himself after the last and pulling clear.
Henderson's assistant Tom Symonds said: "Hopefully it's an omen of things to come. Highclere have been very good about him -- first he couldn't run because of the ground, then he had a foot problem and he banged his leg so we had to mummify him over the weekend to make sure he could run.
"There's no plan, obviously Aintree is a possibility and Nicky also thinks he has the option of the Flat."
Henderson was unable to make it a quick double when 11/10 favourite Bonikos went out with a whimper when asked for his effort in the three-runner beginners' chase.
This provided easy pickings for 13/8 chance Darstardly Dick, whose confidence had been rebuilt by trainer Victor Dartnall after a chastening first fencing experience.
Jockey Tom O'Brien, nephew of Aidan, later made it a double on No Panic (5/1), who appreciated the return to a sounder surface in the Knight Frank Handicap Chase.
Many punters had started to beware of Alan King's Sadler's Star (7/4 favourite) but his frustrating run finally came after a fine hold-up ride by Wayne Hutchinson in the selling hurdle.