Monday 19 February 2018

Henderson to bounce back

Julian Muscat

Nicky Henderson endured a miserable 48 hours when Binocular's defection from the Champion Hurdle was followed by Zaynar's Kelso eclipse at the prohibitive odds of 1/14. Those who believe bad things come in threes will fear the worst with Punjabi due to complete his Champion Hurdle preparation today.

Fans of Zaynar should not be too downbeat, however. Punjabi himself ran a stinker when beaten at Wincanton on this day 12 months ago, yet he duly climbed from the canvas to land the big one at Cheltenham. This has been the Henderson way for many moons.

On a separate tack, it was refreshing to see Paul Nolan keep Joncol away from this year's Cheltenham Festival. Many would have succumbed to the Gold Cup/Ryanair Chase temptation, yet Joncol is a talented young work in progress. And the way he veered towards the stands' side on his last two visits to Leopardstown suggests he would be more effective going right-handed. Punchestown in April will be right up his street.

Irish Independent

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