Henderson Outlines Champion Hurdle Plans

Wed 11th Jan 2017, 07:53

The Nicky Henderson-trained My Tent Or Yours
©Healy Racing Photos
Brain Power currently heads Nicky Henderson's list of Champion Hurdle possibles and will test his credentials in the Contenders Hurdle at Sandown on February 4.

The six-year-old was successful at the Esher venue in early December and followed up a fortnight later with an impressive victory in the Wessex Youth Trust Handicap Hurdle - formerly known as The Ladbroke - at Ascot.

Brain Power is a general 12-1 shot in a Champion Hurdle market that is volatile at present, with the last two winners Faugheen and Annie Power yet to run this season.

Henderson said: "He's got a lot of natural pace and talent. His jumping needed quite a bit of work last year and Barry (Geraghty) suggested we put some cheekpieces on him when we were schooling one day and they've helped him.

"There's nothing wrong with him in any other way. The cheekpieces are only there to help his jumping.

"He's got a lot of raw talent and is learning to race properly.

"He's now got a rating of 162, which completely takes him out of all handicaps, and you now have to go up to the next degree.

"There's not a lot of options. We were thinking L'Ami Serge might go for the Champion Hurdle Trial at Haydock, in which case Brain Power would slot into the Contenders Hurdle at Sandown.

"We'll then find out what he is and where he belongs."

Henderson has won the Champion Hurdle a joint-record five times and has a number of possible runners in this year's renewal.

L'Ami Serge is set to stick to the smaller obstacles after a narrow reverse in the Relkeel Hurdle at Cheltenham on New Year's Day.

My Tent Or Yours, runner-up in the Champion Hurdle in 2014 and 2016, has been a little disappointing in three starts so far this season, but Henderson has not given up hope he could bounce back on the big day in March.

"My Tent probably just hasn't come to his very best this year, but he's well capable of coming back, as we saw with his run in the Champion last year," said the Seven Barrows handler.

"A lot of people told me I was crazy thinking Sprinter Sacre was going to do it last year, so we've got to keep believing."

Henderson also provided a positive update on Peace And Co.

The six-year-old rounded off an unbeaten juvenile campaign with victory in the Triumph Hurdle two years ago, but was bitterly disappointing last season and has not been seen since pulling up in the Champion Hurdle.

"We're creeping into respectability and his behaviour is good," Henderson told At The Races.

"We were tinkering with what you'd consider to be a minor wind procedure in the autumn and he had a reaction to it and was in hospital for a good month.

"We are quite well behind, but we are making good progress now and the horse looks fantastic. He hasn't galloped yet, but does enough work on his own.

"We've got a long way to go, but he's going to be entered for the Champion Hurdle."

Greatrex eyes Irish option for The Nipper

A visit to Fairyhouse could be on the cards for The Nipper after she got her career back on track at Lingfield.

THE IRISH TIMES