Nicky Henderson Stable Tour: 2021/22 Season


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Nicky Henderson

Nicky Henderson didn’t have a glittering season last term with the likes of Champ, Epatante and Santini failing to hit top gear in the biggest races of the season.

Shishkin was the shining light and with Altior now retired, Henderson will be hoping that he’ll have a new Champion Chase superstar who can fly the flag for Seven Barrows this season.

He might not be the only one to follow from team Henderson this season, so let’s take a look at some of his stable starts ahead of the 2021/22 campaign.

Allart

7yo, bay gelding

Form: /F115/1F-

Verdict: Rated 142 as a hurdler, Allart progressed for going over fences last season, winning the Grade 2 Noel Novices’ Chase at Ascot. He then went to follow up in another Grade 2 at Haydock but fell at the eight fence and was sent off as the odds-on favourite. He hasn’t been seen since then, but should be competitive again this season, especially when there’s plenty of cut in the ground.

Buveur D’Air

10yo, bay gelding

Form: /12/24-

Verdict: Is no longer the force of old after suffering that freak injury in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle in 2019, but has far from disgraced himself in two runs since then, including when fourth in the Aintree Hurdle in April. He owes nothing to nobody, and anything he does from now on will only be a bonus.

Buzz

7yo, grey gelding

Form: /31252-

Verdict: A decent performer on the Flat for Hughie Morrison, Buzz moved to Nicky Henderson in late 2019 and quickly progressed into a talented hurdler, winning a handicap at Ascot before finishing 2nd in the Betfair Exchange Trophy over the same course and distance. He was later 5th in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury, before posting his best performance yet when only beaten just over a length into second in the Aintree Hurdle. He’ll like staying hurdling again this year, with the odd run on the Flat always a possibility.

Champ

9yo, bay geldingForm: /11F1/2P-

Verdict: Winner of the RSA Chase in 2020, things just didn’t go smoothly last season for Champ and you’d expect a better campaign this time around. He didn’t run until late February last season, finishing 2nd over 2m½f, before pulling out in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham. He’s definitely better than that, but does have a point to prove if he goes for the big one again this season.

Chantry House

7yo, brown gelding

Form: /13111-

Verdict: Won four of his five starts last season, including the Marsh Novices’ Chase at the Festival in which Envoi Allen was a faller. He proved that was no fluke by comfortably following up when upped in distance in the Mildmay Novices’ Chase at Aintree, which gives him a chance to be more of a stayer this season. Three miles may bring out even better in him and he might be one for the King George.

Dame De Compagnie

8yo, bay mare

Form: /1U9-7

Verdict: Won the Coral Cup in March 2020, but didn’t really progress over fences last season, unseating in the Scilly Isles and then finishing out the back in the Mares Hurdle at Cheltenham and in a Handicap Chase at Punchestown. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him back hurdling this term.

Dickie Diver

8yo, bay gelding

Form: 214/24-

Verdict: Has only won once at the racecourse in his lightly raced career, but is clearly highly thought of by Nicky Henderson after being given the chance to prove himself in Grade 1’s over hurdles and fences, including when a distant 4th in the Brown Advisory last season. A decent staying handicap chase looks like it will be more his bag.

Dusart

6yo, bay gelding

Form: 13-

Verdict: Only been seen twice on the racecourse, with the first coming in success at Newbury. That had him as many punters' idea of a Supreme horse, but he missed that engagement because of a setback and instead returned in the Top Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree where he was third behind Belfast Banter. That proved that he retains his potential and connections will be hoping for a clearer passage through this season.

Epatante

7yo, bay mare

Form:/123-3

Verdict: Her vintage 2019/20 season is hard to forget, and so far she’s found it hard to replicate that with her only win since her Champion Hurdle triumph coming in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle last November. Placed efforts in the Christmas Hurdle and both of the Champion Hurdles at Cheltenham and Punchestown have followed, but she’s never really shown that real spark in any of those. She’s a sucker to her own high standards, which connections will be hoping they can find this season.

Floressa

6yo, bay mareForm: /1426-

Verdict: A classy mare, who clearly has plenty of talent, winning a Listed hurdle at Newbury last November as well as finishing 2nd in the Yorkshire Rose Mares’ Hurdle at Doncaster. To very top level has evaded her so far, 4th in the Christmas Hurdle and 6th in the Mares’ Hurdle at Cheltenham, but expect her to be in the mix again this season.

Fusil Raffles

6yo, bay geldingForm: /11P12P

Verdict: Had an excellent start to her 2020/21 campaign, winning at Uttoxeter and twice at Cheltenham, before finishing second to Chantry House in the Marsh Chase at the Festival. He should progress into open company over fences this season, where the Ryanair looks a likely target in March.

Gallyhill

6yo, bay gelding

Form: /12P-

Verdict: Patience could be a virtue with Gallyhill, who showed plenty of class when winning at Newbury in January before finishing second in a class two at Ascot. He was given a chance to prove his abilities in the Grade One Sefton Novices’ Hurdle at Newbury, but was pulled up and reportedly made a noise. That was maybe too long a trip for him, but expect him to deliver on the big stage this season.

Janika

8yo, bay geldingForm: /950-

Verdict: Had wind surgery ahead of last season, but that didn’t really do the trick with his best effort coming when finishing 5th in the Coral Cup at the Festival. He was well down the field in his two other starts last season, which now means he hasn’t won since landing the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter in 2019. It’s hard to know where to stand with him and he might be better watched this season.

Jonbon

5yo, bay gelding

Form: 1-

Verdict: Jonbon will be something of a hype horse this season, and as a brother to Douvan and owned by JP McManus, it’s easy to see why. However, followers of Flinteur Sacre will know that a link to a famous brother doesn’t always guarantee success, and Jonbon will have to work hard to create his own name this season. His sole bumper run was victorious without being too impressive, so he goes into the ‘could be anything’ category ahead of this season.

Mister Fisher

7yo, bay gelding

Form: /P1PU2-

Verdict: It was a bit of an up and down campaign for Mister Fisher last season, winning the Peterborough Chase at Cheltenham in December and a neck second to Frodon in the Oaksey Chase at Sandown. However, his other three starts included being pulled up twice and unseating his rider in the Betway Bowl. He’s a horse that’s still on the up, but will need to be more consistent this term.

Ok Corral

11yo, bay gelding

Form: /091/PP-

Verdict: Won just one of his five starts last season with that victory coming in the Sky Bet Handicap Chase at Doncaster in January. That proved his appetite for staying distances once again, so it was a surprise to see him pulled up in both the Ultima at Cheltenham and then the Grand National at Aintree. Age is getting against him now and his best days could have gone.

On The Blind Side

9yo, bay gelding

Form: /1221365-

Verdict: As consistent as ever last season, winning at Cheltenham and Market Rasen, along with placed efforts in the Relkeel and the Rendlesham. Grade 1’s were beyond him at Aintree and Sandown in the spring, but expect him to be competitive in top handicaps over hurdles again this season.

Shishkin

7yo, bay gelding

Form: /11111-

Verdict: It’s the best of the British trained horses right now and has the chance to really fill the hoofprints of stablemate Altior, who is now retired. Now a winner of the Supreme and the Arkle, Shishkin now has his sights on conquering the two mile chasing division this season by taking the Champion Chase at the Festival. There’s no doubt about it, he’s the one to beat!

Marie’s Rock

6yo, bay mare

Form: 111/73-

Verdict: Made a terrific start to life on the racecourse, racking up a hat-trick from her first three starts in 2019 before having wind surgery. That didn’t bring any further improvement last season, finishing 7th in a Listed event at Newbury before being a well beaten third in the Yorkshire Rose Mares’ Hurdle at Doncaster. There’s plenty more needed if she’s to fulfill her early reputation of being Epatante’s successor.


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