Friday 28 October 2016

Tent has 'massive' task in Champion - Henderson

Graham Clark

Published 23/02/2016 | 02:30

Trainer Nicky Henderson. Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire.
Trainer Nicky Henderson. Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire.

Nicky Henderson is under no illusions about the "massive" task facing My Tent Or Yours in the Stan James Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham next month.

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The nine-year-old was beaten just a neck by fellow JP McManus-owned runner Jezki in the 2014 renewal, but has not been seen in competitive action since suffering a short-priced defeat in the Scottish Champion Hurdle at Ayr the following month.

With an intended start in last Saturday's Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton aborted on account of the testing conditions, My Tent Or Yours will have to defy a near two-year absence on the Festival's opening day, although he is first set for a second racecourse gallop alongside fellow Champion Hurdle-bound stablemate Hargam, having thrilled connections during a spin at Kempton recently.

Speaking at a media day, Henderson said: "My Tent Or Yours had a gallop at Kempton the other week with Hargam and they will work together all the way through.

"They will go somewhere at the weekend for another gallop and I've got a lot of horses that will go to Kempton next week. I think I'd quite like to keep My Tent Or Yours on grass.

"Coming into any race after a lay-off of two years without a run is hard, but coming into a Champion Hurdle is massive. We missed the Kingwell with Tent because of the ground, so we stayed at home. With the ground like that, we thought it would be detrimental to him.

"We laughed about the bounce factor, but we've eliminated that now, not running him at Wincanton. We would buy another three weeks as it would help us, but he is tough and hardy."

My Tent Or Yours is the headline act among a potentially five-strong squad as Henderson bids to claim the hurdling crown for a record sixth time.

Hargam was last seen finishing third behind Faugheen in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton, while Top Notch booked his place with an impressive display at Kelso last week.

Henderson hopes a minor a respiratory procedure will help his Triumph Hurdle winner Peace And Co bounce back from two bitterly disappointing efforts so far this season while outsider Sign Of A Victory is his other entry.

The master of Seven Barrows believes Sprinter Sacre is peaking at the right time ahead of his bid to regain the Champion Chase crown.

It is three years since the 10-year-old produced an awesome display in steeplechasing's two-mile showpiece and while he has hit a few bumps in the road since, a couple of resurgent performances this season have suggested his brilliance remains intact.

Having rolled back the years with in stunning fashion in the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham in November, Sprinter Sacre knuckled down to beat another former champion in Sire De Grugy at Kempton and Henderson believes his pride and joy is ready to raise his game again in three weeks' time.

"Sprinter Sacre is in great form," said the trainer. "He's fresh and well, he's feisty and he's tanking along at the moment."

Irish Independent

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