Grand National - At The Races

Nicky Henderson Stable Tour

    The Master of Seven Barrows lifts the lid on his star-studded squad for Aintree as he bids to become top trainer at the big meeting for a fifth time in eight years.
  • Monday 01 April 2019
  • Stable Tours

Nicky Henderson was once again top trainer at the Aintree Grand National meeting for a fourth time last season when his five winners put him well clear of his rivals.

The roll of honour was even more special as the famous five were all Grade 1 winners with We Have A Dream taking the Doom Bar Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle, Might Bite the Betway Bowl Chase, L’Ami Serge the Aintree Hurdle, Terrefort the Mildmay Novices, and Santini completing the good work with a success in the Sefton Novices’ Hurdle.

Henderson had previously won the Champion Trainers title in 2014 (4 winners), 2013 (5 winners) and 2012 (six winners) and it clearly a meeting where his team are particularly effective.

Altior may not be making that massive step up to two and a half miles yet but he ultra-consistent and classy Top Notch looks like be throwing his hat into the ring in the JLT (Melling) Chase and game Coral Cup winner William Henry goes on the Graded race hunt in the Ryanair Stayers Hurdle.

Buveur D’Air was looking for a trio of Champion Hurdles at Cheltenham last month when falling at the third and he looks for compensation in the Aintree Hurdle where he has solid back up from stablemates Brain Power and Verdana Blue.

Pentland Hills justified his trainer’s decision to send a once-raced horse for the JCB Triumph Hurdle when coming up trumps at Cheltenham last month and bids to carry on the good work in the Doom Bar Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle and the likes of Champ and Angels Breath look to get back on the winning trail in their respective contests.

Valtor could well be aiming to provide Henderson with a first Grand National success and all in all it looks like being a very busy week ahead for the Master of Seven Barrows.

Henderson kindly spoke to Tony Elves of attheraces.com about his hope for three-day fixture where success means so much.

Older Horses

Adjali (GER)

  • 4-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Kamsin - Anabasis (High Chaparral)
  • Trained by: N J Henderson
  • Last Race: Aintree, 4 Apr 2019 14:20
  • Result: 4/9, chased leaders on inside, not fluent 3rd, disputing 2nd 4 out, ridden after 2 out, beaten last, stayed on same pace flat
  • View full form
Form Profile:

Winner of two of his seven starts and currently rated 141 over hurdles. Finished seventh, beaten 14 lengths, to stablemate Pentland Hills in the JCB Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham (2m 1f) in March.

Trainer Says:

As well as Pentland Hills I will also run Ajdali in the Doom Bar. I thought he ran a good race in the Triumph up to a point and he hasn’t quite got quite back to his best, but he seems in good form at home.

Video Form
27 Dec 2018:

Angels Breath (IRE)

  • 5-y-o; grey gelding
  • Breeding: Shantou - Mystic Masie (Turgeon)
  • Trained by: N J Henderson
  • Last Race: Aintree, 6 Apr 2019 14:25
  • Result: 3/9, took keen hold in touch, every chance approaching 3 out, ridden after 2 out, hit last, stayed on same pace flat
  • View full form
Form Profile:

Winner of one of his 3 starts and currently rayed 148 over hurdles. Finished seventh, beaten 22 lengths, to Klassical Dream in the Grade 1 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham (2m 1/2f) in March.

Trainer Says:

He is another who seems to have come out of Cheltenham in a good physical condition and he will go for the Mersey Novices’ Hurdle. He was quite keen at Cheltenham but was are stepping him up to two and a half miles anyway.

Video Form
21 Dec 2018:

Brain Power (IRE)

  • 8-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Kalanisi - Blonde Ambition (Old Vic)
  • Trained by: N J Henderson
  • Last Race: Ayr, 13 Apr 2019 14:25
  • Result: PU/14, behind, headway into mid-division on outside 4th, never reached leaders, lost place after 4 out, behind when pulled up before 2 out
  • View full form
Form Profile:

Winner of seven of his 19 starts and currently rated 153 over hurdles. Pulled up before three out in the Champion Hurdle won by Espoir D’allen at Cheltenham (2m 1f) in March and had previously scored by a length and three quarters from Silver Streak in the Grade 2 International Hurdle ay Cheltenham (2m 1f) in December.

Trainer Says:

He will run in the Aintree Hurdle and he will get two and a half. He will like the good ground and he was disappointing in the Champion Hurdle but appears fine at home since.

Video Form
20 Jan 2018:
28 Apr 2017:
17 Dec 2016:

Buveur D'air (FR)

  • 8-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Crillon - History (Alesso)
  • Trained by: N J Henderson
  • Last Race: Punchestown, 3 May 2019 17:30
  • Result: Won/7, tracked leaders, 4th at halfway, headway into 2nd travelling well entering straight, led before last, ridden and stayed on well run-in
  • View full form
Form Profile:

Winner of 16 of his 21 hurdles and currently rated 172 over hurdles. Dual Champion Hurdle winner who fell at the third when bidding for the hat-trick at Cheltenham (2m 1f) last month. Had previously scored a very easy two length victory from Vision Des Flos in a listed event at Sandown (2m) in February won the Grade 1 Aintree Hurdle at Aintree in April 2017 when beating My Tent Or Yours five lengths.

Trainer Says:

Buveur D’Air will be another of my runners in the Aintree Hurdle. He didn’t run a very good race at Cheltenham as, unfortunately, he didn’t have a jockey on his back. We are very happy with him and Barry (Geraghty) came down to school him on Saturday morning.

Video Form
1 Dec 2018:
2 Dec 2017:

Champ (IRE)

  • 7-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: King's Theatre - China Sky (Definite Article)
  • Trained by: N J Henderson
  • Last Race: Aintree, 5 Apr 2019 16:40
  • Result: Won/12, held up towards rear, not fluent 7th, headway approaching 4 out, led going well when not fluent 2 out, clear flat, ridden out, comfortably
  • View full form
Form Profile:

Winner of five of his 8 starts and currently rated 152 over hurdles. Winner of the Grade 1 Challow Hurdle at Newbury (2m 4 1/2f) in December beating Getaway Trump two and a half lengths and excellent second, beaten two lengths, to City Island in the Grade 1 Ballymore Hurdle at Cheltenham (2m 5f) in March.

Trainer Says:

Champ seems to have come of Cheltenham in a very good physical condition and he will go for the Doom Bar Novices’ Hurdle.

Video Form
20 Jan 2018:
31 Jan 2017:

Colonial Dreams (IRE)

  • 7-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Westerner - Dochas Supreme (Supreme Leader)
  • Trained by: N J Henderson
  • Last Race: Sandown, 27 Apr 2019 17:15
  • Result: Won/14, mid-division on outside, tracked leaders 5th, led 2 out, ridden and headed narrowly last, stayed on gamely to regain lead towards finish
  • View full form
Form Profile:

Winner of three of his 13 starts and currently rated 131. Best effort this season when runner-up, beaten a length and three quarters, to Ballymoy in a Grade 3 handicap hurdle at Ascot in January off a mark of 129.

Trainer Says:

In the first race on Friday, the Merseyrail Handicap Hurdle, Colonial Dreams and Pacific De Baune are likely to be my representatives. They are both in good form and both capable of running well in a highly competitive-looking event.

Video Form
19 Jan 2019:
25 Mar 2018:
9 Jan 2018:
21 Apr 2017:

Downtown Getaway (IRE)

Form Profile:

Winner of two of his 3 starts and currently rated 131 over hurdles. Off the mark over hurdles at Ascot (2m 5 1/2f) in January when beating Champagne Well a short head.

Trainer Says:

He got balloted out at Cheltenham but he’s been in great form and he will go for the Doom Bar Sefton Novices’ Hurdle over three miles.

Video Form
19 Jan 2019:
3 Dec 2017:

Floressa (FR)

Form Profile:

Winner of her only bumper at Ludlow last month when beating Shantou Express a length and a quarter.

Trainer Says:

Floressa will definitely run in the Mares’ Bumper and is in good form at home.

Kilcrea Vale (IRE)

Form Profile:

Winner of three of his 19 starts and currently rated 132 over fences. Finished third, beaten 28 lengths, to Tommy Silver in a handicap chase at Ludlow (3m) in February off a mark of 133.

Trainer Says:

He will run in the Topham Trophy if he gets in.

Video Form
18 May 2019:
20 Jan 2018:
16 Dec 2017:
24 Nov 2017:
26 Feb 2017:

Mr Whipped (IRE)

  • 6-y-o; brown gelding
  • Breeding: Beneficial - Dyrick Daybreak (Ali-Royal)
  • Trained by: N J Henderson
  • Last Race: Aintree, 5 Apr 2019 14:50
  • Result: 4/6, held up towards rear, close up 4 out, left 3rd next, soon driven and one pace, ridden and well held in 4th between last 2
  • View full form
Form Profile:

Winner of four of his seven starts and currently rated 145 over fences. Scored by a length and three quarters from Springtown Lake in a Novices’ Chase at Haydock (2m 4 1/2f) in December.

Trainer Says:

He will run in the three-mile novices’ chase, but it looks a good with with La Bague Au Roi set to go there and she will take plenty of beating.

O O Seven

Form Profile:

Winner of seven of his 23 starts and currently rated 151 over fences. Best effort this season on reappearance in a handicap chase at Doncaster (3m) in December when beating Go Conquer half a length off a mark of 147. Finished fourth, beaten seven and three quarter lengths, to Ultragold in the Topham Handicap Chase at Aintree (2m 5f) in April 2017.

Trainer Says:

I have a multitude of entries in the Topham but O O Seven will definitely run. He is in very good form and it is a good trip for him. He ran very in the race two years ago and didn’t run so well in it last year but I think he is great shape.

Video Form
26 Jan 2019:
15 Dec 2018:
23 Dec 2017:
10 Dec 2016:

Paris Dixie

  • 4-y-o; bay filly
  • Breeding: Champs Elysees - Last Of The Dixies (Halling)
  • Trained by: N J Henderson
  • Last Race: Carlisle, 24 Feb 2019 17:15
  • Result: Won/9, led, strongly challenged over 2f out, headed over 1f out, rallied to lead again inside final furlong, ran on well
  • View full form
Form Profile:

Winner of one of her four bumpers when trained by Julie Camacho. Off the mark at Carlisle in February when scoring by a length and three quarters from Aurora Thunder.

Trainer Says:

I have only had her three weeks and we will work her and then make a decision as to whether she runs in the Mares’ Bumper.

Video Form
5 Jan 2019:

Pentland Hills (IRE)

  • 4-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Motivator - Elle Galante (Galileo)
  • Trained by: N J Henderson
  • Last Race: Aintree, 4 Apr 2019 14:20
  • Result: Won/9, mid-division on inside, took keen hold, headway going well before 3 out, went 2nd 2 out, challenged last, led flat, went 1/2 length ahead, pushed out towards finish to hold on
  • View full form
Form Profile:

153 rated hurdler. Winner of both of his start over hurdles and most significantly won the Grade 1 JCB Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham (2m 1f) in March by three lengths from Coeur Sublime.

Trainer Says:

He runs in the Doom Bar and is good form at home. It didn’t surprise me that he won the Triumph even though it was a big risk running a horse that had one hurdle race under his belt and didn’t have much experience, but we wouldn’t have run him if we didn’t think he had a chance of winning.

Video Form
25 Feb 2019:
3 Sep 2018:
16 Aug 2018:
24 Apr 2018:

Theinval (FR)

Form Profile:

Winner of six of his 42 starts and currently rated 146 over fences. Finished sixth, beaten 40 lengths, to Calipto in a handicap chase at Wincanton (2m 4f) in January off a mark of 148. Runner-up in the Red Rum Handicap Chase at Aintree (2m) in April for the past two year. Beaten three and a quarter lengths by Bentelimar in 2018 and a length by Double W’s in 2017.

Trainer Says:

“He will run in the Red Rum HandicapChase - he runs in it every year and has finished runner-up in the race in the past two runnings. He is in very good form and we would be looking for another solid effort from him.

Video Form
24 Nov 2018:
4 Nov 2017:
12 Dec 2016:
8 Oct 2016:

Top Notch (FR)

  • 8-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Poliglote - Topira (Pistolet Bleu)
  • Trained by: N J Henderson
  • Last Race: Aintree, 5 Apr 2019 15:25
  • Result: PU/6, chased leaders, went 2nd 4th until after 7th, hit next and given reminders, outpaced from 11th, mistake and weakened 4 out, pulled up before 2 out
  • View full form
Form Profile:

Winner of 14 of his 26 starts and currently rated 162 over fences. Gained his last success in a listed Chase at Kempton (2m 4 1/2f) in January when scoring by five lengths from Black Corton

Trainer Says:

Altior won’t run in the JLT (Melling) Chase so that might be left to Top Notch to be our representative. As you all know he is a great favourite in the yard and barely ever runs a bad race.

Video Form
22 Dec 2018:
17 Feb 2018:
25 Nov 2017:
17 Dec 2016:
28 Nov 2016:

Valtor (FR)

Form Profile:

Winner of seven of his 52 starts and currently rated 160. Impressive eight length victor from Jammin Masters in the Listed Silver Cup at Ascot (3m) in December on his debut for the stable off a mark of 148. Pulled up in the Grade 2 Cotswold Chase won by Frodon at Cheltenham (3m) in January.

Trainer Says:

He is entered in the Topham but he will either run in the Grand National or neither. He is in good form at home and we would be looking for him to find the sort of form he showed when winning on his debut for us at Ascot in December.

Video Form
22 Dec 2018:

Verdana Blue (IRE)

  • 7-y-o; bay mare
  • Breeding: Getaway - Blue Gallery (Bluebird)
  • Trained by: N J Henderson
  • Last Race: Ascot, 1 May 2019 15:25
  • Result: 4/7, in touch, driven to chase leaders when not clear run 2f out to over 1f out, soon ridden, no impression in 4th final furlong
  • View full form
Form Profile:

Winner of eight of her 23 starts and currently rated 154 over hurdles. Scored by a short head from stablemate Buveur D’Air in the Grade 1 Unibet Christmas Hurdle at Kempton (2m) at Christmas and subsequently fifth, beaten 24 lengths, to Espoir D’Allen in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham (2m 1/2f) in March.

Trainer Says:

She will run in the Aintree Hurdle and obviously we don’t know if she will get two and a half miles but she loves good ground and it is hardly going to be soft. The course should suit her fine and she is in good order.

Video Form
1 May 2019:
23 Dec 2017:
24 Nov 2017:
4 Nov 2017:
4 Jan 2017:

Whatswrongwithyou (IRE)

Form Profile:

Winner of five of his 12 starts and currently rated 144 over fences. Finished sixth, beaten ten lengths, to Croco Bay in the Grand Annual Handicap Chase at Cheltenham (2m 1/2f) in March off a mark of 145.

Trainer Says:

He is in very good form, but he is only in the Red Rum Handicap Chase in case it rains and rains and rains. He needs soft ground.

Video Form
24 Feb 2019:
14 Jan 2019:

William Henry (IRE)

Form Profile:

Winner of six of his 13 starts and currently rated 156 over hurdles. Put up a courageous performance when short heading Wicklow Brave in the Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle (2m 5f) at Cheltenham this month off a mark of 151.

Trainer Says:

He put up a great performance to win the Coral Cup at Cheltenham and seems fine after that hard race. He will go for the Ryanair Stayers Hurdle on the Saturday.