Nicky Henderson | Exclusive Stan James Stable Tour

September 21st, 2017|0 Comments

After securing his fourth UK Jumps Trainers Championship last April, Stan James ambassador Nicky Henderson heads into the 2017/18 National Hunt season with a plethora of equine talent at his disposal and the man who has saddled [...]

Nicky Henderson | A sweet smell of success for Sugar Baron at Sandown?

April 28th, 2017|0 Comments

We have 16 runners heading to Sandown for the NH Finale as well as MIGHT BITE, SPRINTER SACRE and BUVEUR D’AIR all parading before racing so it will certainly be a busy day for all [...]

My Tent pitched into battle one more time!

April 27th, 2017|0 Comments

It’s been a relatively low-key week so far with just a handful of runners at Punchestown, but it’s set to get even busier from tomorrow with two in the G1 Hurdle plus a few others [...]


April 25th, 2017|0 Comments

It's been a nice, steady introduction into this year's Punchestown Festival with no runners today and just the one tomorrow, but we'll get busier towards the end of the week with BRAIN POWER, BEAT THAT, [...]


April 13th, 2017|0 Comments

It has been a busy week with preparations for tomorrow’s Lambourn Open Day, of which I hope you can all come along and join us because all the stars will be parading including our Cheltenham/Aintree [...]

‘More of That’ winning feeling?

April 7th, 2017|0 Comments

The Aintree Festival has been a particularly successful one for all of us at @sevenbarrows and BUVEUR D'AIR was very good on Thursday. He'll probably be finished for the season now and we'll work back [...]

A Golden Present Forecasted!

April 6th, 2017|0 Comments

This is a big day for @sevenbarrows with 11 runners heading up to Aintree for day two of the meeting and it would be nice to think there is a winner or two among them. [...]

He who D’AIR’S…

April 5th, 2017|0 Comments

After a short break since Cheltenham we’re heading up to Aintree for the Grand National meeting and while I am the first to admit we have pretty much zero chance of winning the National itself as [...]

Bardd our most likely winner tomorrow

March 31st, 2017|0 Comments

It’s a relatively quiet weekend for us with a handful of runners at Uttoxeter and Ascot before our attention turns to Aintree for the Grand National meeting and we made our first entries for Thursday [...]

Nicky Henderson reflects on the Cheltenham Festival and looks ahead to Newbury

March 24th, 2017|0 Comments

We all enjoyed a tremendous Cheltenham Festival, with three winners and the others running very well indeed, so you couldn’t be more pleased with how they performed. I’ve been away for the past week so [...]

Days of Heaven to shine at Kempton

March 17th, 2017|0 Comments

The @sevenbarrows bandwagon continues to chug along and we're at Kempton for a good card that features a couple of races for those that didn't make the cut to get into Cheltenham and it's a [...]

Cheltenham Festival Day 4 | Charli to knock the Triumph Hurdle out of the Parc?

March 16th, 2017|0 Comments

We're coming to the end of what has been an absolutely fantastic week. We always say we'll be satisfied with winner but to have three on the board already is brilliant and the whole team [...]

Cheltenham Festival Day 3 | Will Nico be sipping Cocktails At Dawn on Day Three?

March 15th, 2017|0 Comments

It's been a tremendous Festival so far and I couldn't be any happier with the way things have gone. MIGHT BITE was simply extraordinary in the RSA and it was certainly heart in your mouth [...]

Cheltenham Festival Day 2 | Whisper it, but Davy Russell could triumph

March 14th, 2017|0 Comments

What a marvellous start to the Cheltenham Festival! ALTIOR was brilliant in the Arkle and there is very little more we can say except that we have an extremely talented horse with a fantastic career [...]

Cheltenham Festival Day 1 | Brain Power in excellent form ahead of Stan James Champion Hurdle

March 13th, 2017|0 Comments

The greatest show on turf has finally arrived and I, like you all, simply cannot wait to hear the roar from the crowd as the runners come into line for the Supreme Novices. This is [...]

Step Up! Gaitway the road to riches this weekend?

March 10th, 2017|0 Comments

I’d like to say this is the calm before the storm but we have a few runners to get out of the way this weekend and there is still plenty going on behind the scenes [...]


March 3rd, 2017|0 Comments

We have an extremely quiet weekend, one of the quietest for some time, but that’s not to say it’s the same behind the scenes with the Cheltenham Festival just days away everyone is very busy [...]

Nicky Henderson: Countdown to Cheltenham hits fever pitch

February 24th, 2017|0 Comments

It’s been a pretty busy week for us all @sevenbarrows as the countdown to the Cheltenham Festival really hits fever pitch and some of our big guns paraded in front of the press on Wednesday and [...]


February 17th, 2017|0 Comments

With the Cheltenham Festival less than one month away this is a relatively quiet period for the stable as all the big guns have had their prep races and it’s just a case of keeping [...]


February 10th, 2017|0 Comments

The horses have been running very well and it was great to see our decision justified at Sandown when BUVEUR D’AIR won on his hurdling return last Saturday. He is now 7/2 favourite for the [...]


February 3rd, 2017|0 Comments

It has been a pretty topsy turvy and extremely unpredictable week but sometimes this sort of thing is going to happen at this time of year with the ground as it is and Cheltenham just [...]

Buveur D’Air to run Stan James Champion Hurdle

January 31st, 2017|0 Comments

It has been decided that BUVEUR D’AIR will not run in the G1 Scilly Isles Chase at Sandown on Saturday and will instead revert to hurdles with a crack at the Stan James Champion Hurdle [...]


January 27th, 2017|0 Comments

We’re back at Cheltenham for the final time before the Festival in under seven weeks’ time which is hard to believe as it has come around so fast! We’re not going all guns blazing and [...]

Ascot run to be right up Percy’s Street?

January 20th, 2017|0 Comments

Last weekend was a pretty profitable one at Kempton and Huntington, and I was delighted to see VANITEUX get his head in front where the track and trip clearly suited him well. The ground was probably soft [...]


January 13th, 2017|0 Comments

We’ve a relatively quiet weekend with just five runners over the next two days so I’m hoping it’s a case of quality over quantity. To be honest, I’ve not ran too many at all, there’s [...]

Is Clondaw Saturday’s Banker?

January 6th, 2017|0 Comments

I’ve just returned from the funeral of my great friend and former valet John Buckingham who sadly passed away last month. He was a most lovely man who is probably best known for riding Foinavon [...]

Christmas in April this New Year’s Eve?

December 30th, 2016|0 Comments

After quite a frustrating Boxing Day, it was great to get back in business on the 27th with CHARLI PARCS making a very impressive debut for us in the Juvenile Hurdle at Kempton and then ALTIOR [...]

Josses Hill to smash the King George?

December 23rd, 2016|0 Comments

First of all, may I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year as we head into 2017. All of your kind comments, calls, emails and tweets throughout the [...]

My Tent to Pitch for the Christmas Hurdle

December 19th, 2016|0 Comments

It's been a hectic few days with plenty of serious decisions to be made with regard to who goes where over Christmas but after discussing it through with Alan Spence we have decided to let [...]

MINSTREL ROYAL on song this Saturday?

December 16th, 2016|0 Comments

Another busy Saturday with runners representing @sevenbarrows at Ascot and Haydock and I'd like to think there are a few winners among them. Thoughts on their chances are below - good luck everyone! SATURDAY Ascot [...]

Nicky Henderson | International Hurdle day

December 9th, 2016|0 Comments

The action at Prestbury Park continues on Saturday with the International Hurdle taking centre stage at 3:00pm and it's a race the team @sevenbarrows have enjoyed plenty of success in, notably with Binocular in [...]

Nicky Henderson | It’s International Weekend

December 8th, 2016|0 Comments

We’ve a relatively quiet Friday with just four runners representing @sevenbarrows at Cheltenham and I hope it’s a case of quality over quantity. We’re much busier on Saturday and MY TENT OR YOURS will be [...]

Nicky Henderson on Josses Hill

December 2nd, 2016|0 Comments

Our racing ambassador, Nicky Henderson, chats about Josses Hill.

Nicky Henderson | Ar Mad is the one to catch

December 2nd, 2016|0 Comments

It’s another big weekend for the @sevenbarrows team with 13 runners up and down the country over the next two days and I think we have some very good chances among them. The Tingle Creek [...]

Nicky Henderson | Vyta Du Roc our World?

November 25th, 2016|0 Comments

It’s been a great week for us all here at @sevenbarrows and it got off to a great start at Kempton on Monday with ALTIOR who made a winning debut over fences. Obviously, it wasn’t [...]

Nicky Henderson | Beware the Bear to run at Ascot

November 18th, 2016|0 Comments

It goes without saying the last week has probably been one of the worst in quite some time; firstly having to retire dear old Sprinter Sacre and then the devastation that saw Simonsig lose his [...]

Hargam | Weighing Up The Options

November 11th, 2016|0 Comments

Our racing ambassador, Nicky Henderson, chats about Hargam ahead of his Stan James Greatwood hurdle run on Sunday:

Altior | straight from the horse’s mouth!

November 11th, 2016|0 Comments

In a brand new series, we go 'behind the scenes' as Nicky introduces us to the stars of the show, the horses themselves! First up, Nicky talks about Altior while his Cheltenham Festival Supreme Novices [...]

Nicky Henderson | Brain Power to outmuscle the competition?

November 11th, 2016|0 Comments

We had a great start to the Open Meeting with all the horses running well and it was obviously great for OO SEVEN to win his chase debut but my condolences go to all of [...]

Nicky Henderson | 00-Seventh Heaven at Cheltenham?

November 10th, 2016|0 Comments

It’s the first big meeting of the jumps season at Cheltenham this weekend and after the rain finally decided to fall, I’m really looking forward to getting some of our big guns out. The horses [...]

Nicky Henderson | Altior entered for November Novice Chase

November 8th, 2016|0 Comments

After the November Novice Chase was reopened at Cheltenham on Sunday I have decided to enter Altior and if the forecast is correct it is a possibility that he may take his chance, but it [...]

Nicky Henderson | Dancing in the rain

November 4th, 2016|0 Comments

We’ve still had absolutely zero rain which has not done us any good at all and there are plenty of horses fit and ready to run but can’t because of the ground so we’ve all [...]

Nicky Henderson | Henderson hits out at handicapper over Hargam

October 28th, 2016|0 Comments

It was great to get off the mark at Cheltenham last weekend and THOMAS CAMPBELL was very impressive in winning his hurdles debut and KHEZERABAD ran very well too but I wouldn’t get that carried [...]

Nicky Henderson | Top Notch Chase Debut

October 28th, 2016|0 Comments

TOP NOTCH makes his chase debut today in the 3:45 at Uttoxeter and has been great in his lead up to this race. Bear in mind he’s only very little though and he’s not the [...]

Nicky Henderson | River running Wylde at Cheltenham

October 21st, 2016|0 Comments

nicky-henderson-cheltenham It's great to be back at Cheltenham this weekend as it really is the home of National Hunt racing. It signifies the beginning of the jumps season proper and the road to [...]

Nicky Henderson | Flying the flag in America

October 14th, 2016|0 Comments

We will be flying the Union Jack over in America this weekend where DAYS OF HEAVEN takes his chance in the American Grand National tomorrow night and we’re all looking forward to seeing how he [...]


October 13th, 2016|0 Comments

It’s great to be back up and running again with the National Hunt season proper starting to move up a gear and after such a great time last season I hope we can continue where [...]

Sprinter Sacre the Star of the Show

May 2nd, 2016|0 Comments

I’m currently up in Scotland having a small amount of down time after such a busy month with winners at Aintree and Sandown plus Punchestown last week. We have always managed to get over 100 [...]

Punchestown | Friday’s Fancies: 00 Seven in Heaven?

April 28th, 2016|0 Comments

It's the penultimate day of the Punchestown Festival on Friday and we have no runners on Saturday so hopefully we can sign off with another winner before heading home. MY TENT OR YOURS takes his [...]

Punchestown | We’re up for the cup!

April 27th, 2016|0 Comments

It's been a pretty good week so far at Punchestown as the horses have all performed consistently well. Simonsig showed that he still retained his ability and, despite being beaten, Jenkins proved that he is [...]

Punchestown | Sundae’s on Wednesday!

April 26th, 2016|0 Comments

We've just the two runners flying the English flag for @sevenbarrows on day two of Punchestown and BADEN goes to post in the Hurdle at 4:20pm. He's only had three runs so is very unexposed [...]

Sprinter Sacre returns next season

April 25th, 2016|0 Comments

First of all I’d like to thank each and every one of you for all the kind messages, email and tweets to @sevenbarrows after SPRINTER SACRE’S devastating victory in the Celebration Chase. I have had [...]

Punchestown | Simonsig in absolutely excellent form

April 25th, 2016|0 Comments

I’m just about to board a flight to Dublin for the Punchestown Festival which is one final hurrah for the jumps season before we all go into hibernation. We have assembled a decent team and [...]

Nicky Henderson |Sprinter’s a cause for Celebration

April 22nd, 2016|0 Comments

It’s the last day of the season tomorrow and I hope we have assembled a really good team to end on a high. SPRINTER SACRE takes on Un Des Sceaux in the Celebration Chase at [...]

Nicky Henderson | Latest News

April 15th, 2016|0 Comments

It was a really frustrating and difficult two days at Cheltenham in the week not least because of the fatal injury sustained to Robin’s Reef who was a lovely mare I had high hopes for. [...]

Aintree Day Three

April 8th, 2016|0 Comments

We've had a great Grand National meeting so far which started with a solid run in second from MY TENT OR YOURS who, despite being beaten 41 lengths by Annie Power, showed that the ability [...]

Aintree Day Two

April 7th, 2016|0 Comments

A rather quiet day for the @sevenbarrows team on Friday with just three runners going up to Aintree and THEINVAL bids to get the ball rolling in the Alder Hey Children's Hospital Handicap Hurdle, (1:40) [...]

Aintree Grand National Meeting Day One

April 6th, 2016|0 Comments

We're all set for a busy few days up at Aintree and, as expected, the racing is very competitive but hopefully we should be able to pick up a winner somewhere along the line. In [...]

Countdown to Aintree

April 1st, 2016|0 Comments

It's another reasonably quiet weekend with four runners at Newbury on Saturday and one at Ascot the following day; then of course all roads lead to Aintree for the Grand National meeting which starts on [...]

Our Runners Over Easter

March 24th, 2016|0 Comments

After a brilliant Cheltenham Festival and double last Saturday at Kempton we have just a few runners over the Easter period with two at Haydock and a few at Huntington on Monday. TOWERING runs in [...]

Cheltenham’s over, but the show goes on!

March 18th, 2016|0 Comments

  The Cheltenham Festival might be over for another year but the @sevenbarrows bandwagon continues to roll and we have runners at Uttoxeter, Fontwell and Kempton this weekend. POUGNE BOBBI runs in the 1:50 at [...]

Cheltenham Day 4 Preview

March 17th, 2016|0 Comments

I can't believe the final day of the festival is here; it's been a brilliant week and the pressure was off early as ALTIOR got us off to a good start by winning the Supreme [...]

Cheltenham Day 3 Preview

March 16th, 2016|0 Comments

We've had a great Cheltenham Festival so far with Altior who really was simply supreme in the Supreme and is now 6/1 with Stan James for next year's Champion Hurdle. Whether to stick to the [...]

Cheltenham Day 2 Preview

March 15th, 2016|0 Comments

We've got 10 runners on day two of the Festival and VYTA DU ROC goes to post in the RSA (2.10pm). He won the Reynoldstown at Ascot last time which was a good performance as [...]

Cheltenham Day 1

March 14th, 2016|0 Comments

The wait is almost over; we’ve still got 24 hours to go but we’re getting there. I walked around Cheltenham yesterday and it’s in great nick and will dry out as the week goes on. [...]

Nearing the end of the road!

March 11th, 2016|0 Comments

It’s a bit like the calm before the storm as we’ve only got one runner tomorrow before Cheltenham and it’s just a case of ticking along nicely until Tuesday. DIVINE SPEAR represents the @sevenbarrows team [...]

Doncaster, Kempton and the magic of Cheltenham

March 4th, 2016|0 Comments

A reasonably quiet weekend for the @sevenbarrows team with just five runners so before I talk about their chances I thought we could reflect on last week’s winner Ericht who has gone up 9lbs for his victory [...]

Super Six Running At Kempton

February 26th, 2016|0 Comments

We’ve just got six runners at Kempton but that is enough to keep us occupied and KHEZERABAD will be our first runner of the day in the Adonis Hurdle. He’s been here all winter and [...]

Nicky Henderson Cheltenham Preview – Part Two

February 23rd, 2016|0 Comments

Altior and Buveur D'Air will both run in the Supreme Novices hurdle and both are in very, very good form and they really couldn’t be better. In time both with jump fences but they have [...]

Nicky Henderson Cheltenham Preview – Part One

February 22nd, 2016|0 Comments

We had press over today for a media day and I must say it was good to see so many wanting to find out about our horses ahead of the Cheltenham Festival. The first thing [...]

Eight take their chance on Saturday

February 19th, 2016|0 Comments

It’s a very busy time for us at present with many of our horses ready to run – in fact, many actually need an outing but the ground is just too soft and unsuitable for [...]

Top Notch running at Kelso as planned

February 18th, 2016|0 Comments

Top Notch has had some hard races this term, and this race (2.30pm Kelso) provides him with a great opportunity. He’s entered in Saturday’s Kingwell hurdle at Wincanton – but today’s race at Kelso was [...]

Grand National Weights Revealed

February 16th, 2016|0 Comments

  Triolo D'Alene He's won a Hennessy and a Topham so he's already won over the fences. He absolutely loved Aintree when winning the Topham back in 2013 and really is a good ground horse. [...]

Captain Conan Is Looking Great

February 12th, 2016|0 Comments

Argante is making his debut over jumps at Newbury tomorrow (1.20pm) having had two runs on the flat for Henry Spiller. He has lots of racecourse experience having previously run in France on the flat [...]

Kempton This Afternoon

February 12th, 2016|0 Comments

My Tent Or Yours and Hargam will work over four hurdles at Kempton this afternoon, in between the two chase races at 2.15pm and 2.50pm. Barry Geraghty takes the ride on My Tent Or Yours while [...]

Update on Peace and Co

February 10th, 2016|0 Comments

Following his run on Saturday we have been looking at Peace And Co’s respiratory and although there is not a whole lot to see or hear, we feel cauterizing his palate, which is a fairly [...]

Sunday at Musselburgh

February 6th, 2016|0 Comments

We travel to Scotland on Sunday with some of our Cheltenham Festival hopefuls. Musselburgh has better ground than some of the courses in the south, or indeed in the midlands or the north of England, [...]

Peace and Co Returns Tomorrow

February 5th, 2016|0 Comments

Peace And Co returns to the racecourse tomorrow at Sandown (1.15pm) and although the ground isn’t ideal, he should be okay in it. I just hope they go a bit of a gallop, and I [...]

Clean Sheet runs at Cheltenham

January 29th, 2016|0 Comments

It’s a busy couple of days for us, with five runners today and no less than eight tomorrow. Buveur D´Air runs at Huntingdon today (1.35pm). He is entered in the Supreme hurdle at the Cheltenham [...]

Don’t Want To Risk Peace and Co so close to Cheltenham

January 22nd, 2016|0 Comments

As I tweeted on @sevenbarrows earlier today, we had to pull Peace And Co out of the Stan James Champion Hurdle trial at Haydock tomorrow – it’s a shame, but he just wasn’t 100% at [...]

L’Ami Serge runs at Wetherby

January 15th, 2016|0 Comments

We only have one runner this weekend, and that’s L’Ami Serge at Wetherby (12.55pm) – in fact, we haven’t had a horse run since last Saturday where we had mixed fortunes at Kempton. I was [...]

Having a Good Time of it

January 8th, 2016|0 Comments

We’ve having a good time of it at present – three winners from our last five runners proves that, but generally our horses are in good form and I was very pleased with last weekend’s [...]

Horses in Great Heart

January 1st, 2016|0 Comments

First of all a very happy New Year to you all! 2015 ended extremely well for us at Seven Barrows – and Sprinter Sacre’s victory at Kempton certainly made our Christmas! More of him later, [...]

Plenty for the Weekend

December 26th, 2015|0 Comments

Kempton takes centre stage today with racing ambassador Nicky Henderson saddling five hopefuls in Sunbury including two in the Christmas Hurdle. Smart novice hurdler Altior carries his best chance in the opener but tomorrow [...]

My Tent Delayed

December 19th, 2015|0 Comments

My Tent Or Yours worked this morning and what we've concluded is that he isn’t going to go to the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton. We’re just going to have to give him a bit more [...]

Ascot Awaits

December 18th, 2015|0 Comments

Peace And Co fluffed his lines at Cheltenham last weekend but racing ambassador Nicky Henderson is hopeful Ma Filleule can go well in the same colours tomorrow at Ascot. Blue Fashion makes his debut [...]

Nicky Henderson Interview 2

December 12th, 2015|0 Comments racing ambassador Nicky Henderson gives his view on his International Hurdle favourite Peace And Co and the rest of the card at Cheltenham this afternoon.

Peace In Our Time

December 11th, 2015|0 Comments

The International is the feature at Cheltenham on Saturday and racing ambassador Nicky Henderson saddles the hot favourite in Peace And Co. This year's Triumph Hurdle hero is joined by Hargam in the [...]

Nicky Henderson Interview

December 11th, 2015|0 Comments racing ambassador Nicky Henderson goes through his runners on day one of The International meeting at Cheltenham.

Super Saturday

December 4th, 2015|0 Comments

Nicky Henderson is double-handed in the big race tomorrow, the Tingle Creek at Sandown. Barry Geraghty is on board dual Cheltenham Festival winner Simonsig with Josses Hill also carrying the hopes of Seven Barrows. After [...]

Sprinter Sacre Misses The Tingle Creek

November 30th, 2015|0 Comments

We’re not going to go to the Tingle Creek with Sprinter Sacre. I talked to Caroline Mould over the weekend. He’s in really really good form but, having got him into good shape and the [...]

Welcome Nicky

November 27th, 2015|0 Comments

Here at, we’re delighted to bring you the first weekly blog from our new racing ambassador Nicky Henderson. And it’s a massive Saturday in store with the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle and the [...]

Here at, we’re delighted to bring you the first weekly blog from our new racing ambassador Nicky Henderson. And it’s a massive Saturday in store with the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle and the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury sharing top billing. Nicky saddles live chances in both in Top Notch and Bobs Worth respectively, and he gives us his thoughts on them and some of his other inmates at Seven Barrows.

Welcome Nicky

First of all, we’re very much looking forward to working with for the jumps season. We’ll do our best to keep you posted and let’s hope we have lots of fun and we find some winners starting with this weekend. Tomorrow is a very important day.

Top Notch runs in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle. We’re running him again because we want to run him again. He’s very good, he’s mighty tough and it’s a brave thing having only had your first run of the year last weekend to come back again but he’s as hard as nails and he loves soft ground. Fair enough, Irving beat him last weekend but it’s not irreversible. We’ll have to see if there’s any pace in this race as there may well not be. We had to make it at Haydock and it’s possible he might have to do it again. One day, he’ll have to have a pacemaker.

He’s come out of the race very well. He ate up everything afterwards, he’s been in good form. He set off this morning in his quest for some StanJames loot. It’s a good race. What is good is that there was always a worry the Haydock race would interfere with the Fighting Fifth but the first two have come straight back in again so it hasn’t taken anything away. Then there are a whole load of other horses in there as well which will pose threats.

It is a hard thing to come back as quickly as this. Irving’s doing it as well but he’d already had a run before Haydock so it might be that Haydock didn’t take quite so much out of him. I don’t think we had a particularly hard race because we were always going quite well but we got done for a bit of toe from going to the last. But he does stay very very well and there isn’t much else to do. The only place he could go from here probably is the Relkeel which is now in the January meeting so he’s probably got nowhere to go between now and then anyway. So we rather felt we might as well take our chance here. Daryl Jacob rides him as he always does for Simon Munir and Isaac Souede so he’s on his way.

Newbury Notes

Full Shift runs in the novice handicap chase. He was a point-to-pointer at one stage of his life and, not surprisingly, his jumping has been absolutely excellent, touch wood. He would probably like a little bit further but in this ground I think two miles will be enough for him first time. He’s got plenty of ability. We didn’t start him until the Martin Pipe last season. He’s good to go, he has schooled well and I think his jumping will hold him up. He has won in soft ground but he probably wants a bit further.

Ericht goes in the Sir Peter O’Sullevan Memorial Chase. He has always been a better horse on better ground but the trouble is, in general really, it is wet everywhere. The only places where you really have any chance of getting good ground are Doncaster, the chase course at Leicester and Musselburgh but we won’t be going up there until the 1st of February. We’ve got to accept that it’s going to be horrible everywhere and there’s more rain around, I’m told. So if they don’t run here, it’s going to be the same the next weekend and the weekend after.

I was talking with Barry (Geraghty) this morning and we were saying we could wait for Cheltenham but what’s Cheltenham going to be like in a fortnight’s time. It’s hardly going to be good ground. Ericht ran in the amateur race at Cheltenham the other day over three miles and one furlong. It probably tested his stamina a bit too much and this trip would be about perfect, but not perfect ground. He is in very very good form so I could see him running well as long as he could handle it. I know they’re calling the chase course quite a lot better than the hurdle course but I don’t think the boys thought it rode much better. And Barry thought it would be too soft for Bobs Worth.

Laurium and Ma Filleule are in good form ahead of the handicap hurdle. Laurium ran a very good race at Cheltenham behind John Ferguson’s Penglai Pavilion. He’s been beaten since and the trouble is we went up eight pounds for the pleasure of finishing second but then you don’t come back down. So he’s got himself into a crazy place but he’s in excellent shape. David Bass nearly always rides him but he’s going to Doncaster and with 11 stone 12 we needed to claim off him so we’ve got a very good claimer in Freddie Mitchell. We’ll take five pounds off him to alleviate a rise for getting hammered by the thing of Fergy’s. He’s hardly suddenly improved. The lesson to be learned is not to finish too close to highly-rated horses.

There’s an obvious point with Ma Filleule in that she’s rated 157 over fences and running off 134 here. I’ve been complaining about the handicapper but we have an obvious reason to be optimistic in that I don’t think she’s any slower over hurdles. She’s 23 pounds better off so not surprisingly we’re just having another look over hurdles to see if we can pick a decent prize. She will be going back chasing shortly but that’s bloody difficult. There was a mares’ chase at Carlisle on Sunday but Simon Munir – Anthony Bromley looks after that – is going to run another filly in that and we’ll stay hurdling with her. What we’d really like to do is try and win a Grade 1 chase with her because this will be her last year. She’ll be retiring to stud at the end of the season but she’s been brilliant. She’s won the Topham and all sorts of things and she’s a gorgeous mare. Everybody loves her. She obviously would be competitive and she does handle soft ground.

This time last year, I could have run faster than Whisper. I don’t know what happened to him, he was just nowhere. He’d been top class the season before and he’d won the Aintree Stayers’ Hurdle. We were all looking forward to going chasing with him and it was hopeless. His jumping was all right but his work was appalling. We did then get him out and run him in a novice chase over Christmas and he got beaten by a horse of Paul Nicholls but it was hardly his best. It wasn’t him and we put him away again and again and again and you have to. You have to sit and wait and wait until it all comes together.

There were signs before Cheltenham in March that things were coming together. He actually ran a very good race in the World Hurdle considering he’d have needed it and we had to use that as a prep race for the Aintree race again. And whereas Cole Harden beat him at Cheltenham, we beat Cole Harden at Aintree. So we now have Race Three, tomorrow’s Long Distance Hurdle, which will be interesting. We had a racecourse gallop at Newbury the other day for a Hennessy preview day. They wanted some horses to gallop round but Cole Harden did the same thing so Warren (Greatrex) and I are on the same track. He’s very well and we’ll see what happens.

After he won at Aintree in April, his owner Dai Walters – who we’ve had a lot of good times with especially with Oscar Whisky – said he couldn’t take any more of chasing with him and that we’d leave him over hurdles and try and win the World Hurdle. Oscar Whisky was somewhere between a Champion Hurdle and a World Hurdle horse, two miles and five around Cheltenham he was virtually unbeatable. We went chasing late in life, he did really well, we had lots of fun doing that until sadly he was fatally injured in the Tingle Creek last year and it thumped everybody. I don’t think anybody could face that again and Dai certainly couldn’t. That’s not to say he won’t have chasers but with this horse he has a golden opportunity in this three-mile hurdle division with a realistic chance of being a World Hurdle horse. There’s a lot of water to go under the bridge between now and March but it’s the start, they have to meet, they’ve got no alternative and we’ll take it from there. But he’s been fantastic this autumn all the way through.

Hennessy Hopes

Bobs Worth is in great shape ahead of the Hennessy. Yes, he likes going left-handed but Barry always felt the better the ground the better he was. Even going into last year’s Lexus, Barry felt he was in quite good shape but that ground was much too soft for him that day. I fear, and Barry thought so this morning, that this ground could easily be too soft for him which would be a shame because this is the first time we have seen him in such great shape for a long time. The hurdle race at Aintree did him the world of good – it did us all the world of good to be honest. Not surprisingly, when you’ve been off that long with one of your real old stalwarts, it’s great when they do come back and even just to win a hurdle race. Even if it was him beating Simonsig which is a fair performance in itself. It’s done him so much good and his schooling over fences has been absolutely first class. On that score, we’re optimistic but we’re hardly confident. It’ll be very competitive.

He’s got the best team of owners with Malcolm Kimmins, Kimbo as we call him, and a load of mates and they just adore him. This boy wears his heart on his sleeve and he would just die for you. I think that’s where he’s been struggling over the last two years. He puts so much into it and he takes a lot out of himself. He digs so deep that it’s bloody tough. He won at three consecutive Cheltenham Festivals – the Albert Bartlett, the RSA and the Gold Cup – and that’s a fair thing to do. That’s hard on any horse. You get into those battle there, you can’t come out without scars. He’s back in a really good place at the moment so we’re optimistic without really thinking we can do it but we’ll see what we can do.

We were always coming here because of the attraction of him dropping as much as he has. With Coneygree going to run, he was going to come here with a ridiculous weight and looking very well handicapped. As we know, Coneygree doesn’t run and the race’s complexion has changed quite a bit. Our 10-7 has gone to 11-2 but, on the other hand, Coneygree was always going to be the hardest horse to beat so at least he’s out of the way. Saphir De Rheu is a very good horse who’s now got top weight. With the weights going up, it’s let a whole load in at the bottom but that’s the nature of the beast so here we go.

Lough Kent is my final runner at Newbury. He was running really well at Cheltenham the other day until he gave the second last the most almighty thump. Everything flew out of the window and I think Nico (De Boinville) said somebody managed to grab him and put him back in the saddle. He had come there really strongly like he might be coming to win the race but nobody knows whether he would have won or not, it was very competitive. Anyway, he’s in good form. Two miles, soft ground, it’s a good scenario for him.

Robin’s Reef goes in the mares’ hurdle at Doncaster. I wanted to run her in the listed race at Newbury but you couldn’t do that in that ground. That would have been criminal as she’s only a young mare. She won very well the first time and she will be a good mare. I hope she could even be good enough to go to the new mares’ novice hurdle at Cheltenham in March sponsored by Trull House Stud which half-owned by her owners, the Kelvin-Hughes, with Ronnie Bartlett owning the other half. We’ve gone to Donny to get some ground because we want to mind her for the time being. She’s gorgeous and she’ll be top-class, I hope, one day. We do have quite a lot of mares because we like them.

French Opera runs at Leicester on Sunday. He is the oldest incumbent at Seven Barrows aged 12. He’s been with me since he was a three-year-old, poor boy. We’ve got to know each other pretty bloody well. He’s had to put up with my for nine years, or the other way round, I’m not sure. I love him, he’s never missed a year, he’s never missed anything. He’s been amazing and, fair play to him, he still retains buckets of enthusiasm.

The great thing is the ground at Leicester on the chase course is different to anywhere else. The hurdles course is always very soft but the chase course is always good. They’re actually calling good, good to firm in places which is perfect for him. It’s probably a little far for him but this is a veterans’ race where they’ve got to be 10 to run in it. He is the oldest but he’s not that old in this race. Over the years, we’ve been campaigning him as a proper two-miler and he ran in the Grand Annual six times, mainly because it’s Dad’s race. He’s in very very good form but I would have to say he nearly always needs a run. It does take him a couple of races sometimes to get him ready. It’ll be nice to see him out anyway. We’ve talked about retirement a couple of times but he doesn’t need to as he’s enjoying himself.

Looking Back

Brain Power was the first leg of a double at Kempton on Monday. He’s a very talented youngster. He’s out of mare called Blonde Ambition. That was a very very messy race as they went no gallop. That wouldn’t have helped him at all but he got away with it. I don’t suppose it would have suited any of the others either but, still, he’s a lovely big horse with all the scope in the world and I hope he’ll go a long way.

Vaniteux didn’t beat anything but it’s the way he did it. His jumping, I have to say, was as good as you’ll see. As long as we can stay on that route, I think two miles is fine. He’ll get further, he won a point-to-point. He’ll get two and a half but I don’t think he wants three. He’s got bags of pace. We thought about doing this a year ago but he had only had four hurdle races and a point-to-point in his life and Richard Kelvin-Hughes and I took the view that more experience was going to help him. He actually had a very productive season as far as winning prize money was concerned. He won a lot of prize money without winning a race but he was placed in some very high-class contests. We stalled chasing for a year but now we’ve decided to get on with the job.

I would think the chances are we’ll go back to Kempton for the Wayward Lad at Christmas. Good ground will help him and that’s why we went to Kempton because it’s better than most. Whether he’s Arkle or JLT I don’t know but I’d be disappointed if he wasn’t something.

Polly Peachum almost made it a quick treble. That was a shame but the program is a lot easier for her after Christmas. She just got beaten a head in the mares’ hurdle at Cheltenham. She was meant to finish second as Annie Power would have won but it looked like she’d half-gifted us the race when she fell at the last. Then suddenly another blinking thing of Willie Mullins comes along and nails her on the line. I suppose it was justice really as she would have finished second anyway.

Robert Waley-Cohen now owns half of her with Lady Tennant and she’ll just be aimed at the mares’ hurdle. There are races on the way. I didn’t really want to start her over three miles but I was rather forced to because it was the only race she could run in. There are no two and a half miles at the moment and you can’t run her in a handicap because I think she’s the highest-rated mare in England. She got beaten which is a pity but we won’t worry about that too much and we’ll crack on. The better the ground the better and Cheltenham will be her swansong. Like Ma Filleule, this will be her last year

Looking Ahead

Simonsig will almost certainly be entered for the Tingle Creek. I was talking to Barry this morning and the alternative would be the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon which, in a funny way, might just be a nicer race for him. I think if Un De Sceaux comes to Sandown they’ll go plenty quick. He’s a bit keen and Huntingdon would be a good track for him so we might for the Peterborough although we haven’t made our minds up.

As far as Sprinter Sacre is concerned, he has come out of Cheltenham in fantastic form. He looks brilliant. But if we’re looking at the Tingle Creek it’ll only be three weeks after it. He won by 14 lengths but I’m not going to tell you he had an easy race. It was his first proper race for a very very long time as everybody knows. He seems in fantastic form but we’ve got to think about it and make a decision by tomorrow really. He’s been cantering all the time but if he is going to run he’ll have to step up his work over the weekend. So we will be shortly making some sort of decision on that score.

If it was soft at Sandown, Un De Sceaux loves soft ground but Sprinter does not love ground. Yes, it was soft enough for him at Cheltenham the other day but the conditions of the race were totally in his favour. Come the Tingle Creek you’re going to have probably the winner of last year’s Arkle, and Simonsig won an Arkle, although Sprinter was better than all of them when he was at his best and we’re hoping we’re going to get there.

The only thing that matters with Sprinter is next March. It’s the only race we want. I won’t do it but I wouldn’t mind going straight there. You wouldn’t do that but you might need only one run on the way. If that’s the way we choose to go, it’d be easy. And I think just three weeks after his first run, we might be just coming back a bit quicker than we need to. So we’re 50-50 or we might be 60-40 against because of the ground.

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