Grand National - At The Races

Nicky Henderson

    The Master of Seven Barrows boasts an impressive record at the Grand National meeting he has another strong team for Liverpool in 2017, featuring several big guns who either scored or made the frame at the Cheltenham Festival.
  • Monday 03 April 2017
  • Stable Tours

A good week at Aintree could well set the seal on another trainers’ title for Nicky Henderson and the Grand National meeting has proved lucrative for the Seven Barrows trainer in recent times with 29 winners to his name since 2008.

Henderson was crowned Aintree Champion trainer in 2014 (four winners), 2013 (five winners) and 2012 (six winners) and last year his total swelled with the victories of Buveur D’Air in the Top Novices’ Hurdle and Kayf Grace in the Mares’ Bumper.

Hopes will be high for Buveur D’Air in the Aintree Hurdle after his emphatic Champion Hurdle success at the Cheltenham Festival last month that provided his trainer with a record sixth victory in the race. He could be joined in the line-up by the runner-up and stablemate My Tent Or Yours.

Henderson could also have a two-pronged attack in the Mildmay Novices’ Chase with RSA Chase first and second Might Bite and Whisper plus he has plenty of other more than useful ammunition to fire with during the three days of the Aintree Festival.

Henderson kindly spoke to Tony Elves of attheraces.com about several of those who will be on duty at Aintree this week.

All Horses

Altior (IRE)

  • 7-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: High Chaparral - Monte Solaro (Key Of Luck)
  • Trained by: N J Henderson
  • Last Race: Sandown, 29 Apr 2017 15:00
  • Result: Won/4, tracked leader, switched left after 3 out, soon challenged, led after next, 2 lengths clear when not fluent last, ridden clear flat, comfortably
  • View full form
Trainer Says:

I am not sure what he is going to do but he could run in the Grade 1 Doom Bar Maghull Novices’ Chase or wait for Sandown. He is a bit up in the air really and if he does anything at Aintree it will be in the two-mile Novices’ Chase but I am tempted to wait for Sandown.

Video Form
10 Oct 2015:
29 Apr 2015:

Beyond Conceit (IRE)

Trainer Says:

He could go for the Mersey Novices’ Hurdle over two and a half miles. He ran very well in the Supreme but it looked as if he wants further. He will come in there and he is another who has come out of Cheltenham well.

Buveur D'air (FR)

  • 6-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Crillon - History (Alesso)
  • Trained by: N J Henderson
  • Last Race: Aintree, 6 Apr 2017 15:25
  • Result: Won/6, tracked leading pair, went 2nd 7th until after 4 out, 2nd again after 3 out, led before last, shaken up to draw clear flat, eased close home
  • View full form
Trainer Says:

He will be in the Aintree Hurdle and could be joined by My Tent Or Yours but Brain Power waits for Punchestown. Buveur D’Air was superb in the Champion and has taken the race incredibly well. My Tent is sitting on the fence one way or the other but could easily go to Aintree. It is a very big prize and if was good ground he might go there. Those three are all in very good form.

Claimantakinforgan (FR)

  • 5-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Great Pretender - Taquine D'estrees (Take Risks)
  • Trained by: N J Henderson
  • Last Race: Aintree, 7 Apr 2017 17:15
  • Result: 5/19, tracked leaders, pushed along 3f out, driven over 1f out, stayed on same pace inside final furlong
  • View full form
Trainer Says:

He ran a great race when third in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham and he will go for the Boys’ Bumper. He has plenty of experience and should run well.

Video Form
22 Feb 2017:

Constantine Bay

  • 6-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Kayf Tara - Alina Rheinberg (Waky Nao)
  • Trained by: N J Henderson
  • Last Race: Aintree, 7 Apr 2017 16:40
  • Result: 4/11, tended to run in snatches and lacked fluency, mostly mid-division until closed 4 out, 4th last, tried to press for 2nd flat, no extra close home
  • View full form
Trainer Says:

He goes for the Doom Bar Sefton Novces’ Hurdle over three miles on the Friday. He ran a very good race at Cheltenham when fourth to Penhill and just got taken out of the race at Cheltenham by a horse that fell at the second last and that was game over. I don’t know where he would have finished but he would have been a lot closer and all being well he will go for the Sefton Novices’.

Video Form
28 Jan 2017:
8 Jan 2017:

Divin Bere (FR)

  • 4-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Della Francesca - Mofa Bere (Saumarez)
  • Trained by: N J Henderson
  • Last Race: Aintree, 6 Apr 2017 14:20
  • Result: 2/8, tracked leaders, went 2nd 4th, led before 2 out, ridden and headed narrowly approaching last, kept on flat but no impression on ready winner
  • View full form
Trainer Says:

He is giving me food for thought as he was second in the Fred Winter and went up 6lb for that and has gone up to 145. He would come into Doom Bar Anniversary 4-y-o Juvenile Hurdle and I have also made an entry for him in the Crabbie’s Top Novices’ Hurdle. Defi Du Seuil looks pretty likely to run in the Doom Bar so what we might do is consider the Top Novices’ and decide which way we go but we will have to see as we also have River Wylde in the Top Novices’. Under all known facts Defi Du Seuil is going to be pretty hard to beat.

Gold Present (IRE)

Trainer Says:

He would be a probable for the Topham Trophy. He ran a great race when second in the Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase and jumps well. That would be the right race for him.

Video Form
26 Nov 2016:
21 Mar 2015:

Lough Derg Spirit (IRE)

  • 5-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Westerner - Sno-cat Lady (Executive Perk)
  • Trained by: N J Henderson
  • Last Race: Aintree, 8 Apr 2017 14:25
  • Result: PU/13, prominent, led 2nd, not fluent 6th, headed before 7th, lost 2nd from 3 out, 9th and weakening when mistake 2 out, pulled up before last
  • View full form
Trainer Says:

He missed Cheltenham and we purposely kept him for the Mersey Novices’ Hurdle. We said after he won well at Musselburgh in February that we would wait for Aintree and the track and the step up to two and half miles should suit him well.

Might Bite (IRE)

Trainer Says:

It will probably be the same as Cheltenham and Might Bite and Whisper could go for the Grade 1 Mildmay Novices’ Chase on the Friday. He has come out the RSA in very good form otherwise we wouldn’t be thinking of Aintree. I am very happy with him and if he doesn’t come in here then we have nowhere else to go.

Video Form
9 Feb 2017:
9 Dec 2016:
6 Nov 2016:

O O Seven (IRE)

  • 7-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Flemensfirth - Kestral Heights (Eagle Eyed)
  • Trained by: N J Henderson
  • Last Race: Aintree, 7 Apr 2017 16:05
  • Result: 4/29, tracked leaders, left disputing 2nd 12th (canal turn), left in lead 14th, driven and headed before last, ridden and kept on under pressure flat
  • View full form
Trainer Says:

He could join Gold Present in the Topham Trophy. He won well over two and a half miles at Huntingdon prior to a below par performance in the RSA and the return to a shorter trip should suit him much better.

Video Form
10 Dec 2016:
29 Apr 2016:

Polly's Pursuit (IRE)

Trainer Says:

She goes for the Mares’ Bumper and is going the right way. She is won at Lingfield and her saddle slipped when she finished second there next time.

Video Form
25 Jun 2017:
13 Jun 2017:
24 May 2017:
6 Mar 2017:
31 Jan 2017:

Rather Be (IRE)

Trainer Says:

He was brought down in the Martin Pipe and goes for the two and a half mile handicap hurdle. Before then he had shown a good level of form and we would hope he could be competitive.

Video Form
6 Oct 2016:
24 Feb 2016:

River Wylde (IRE)

  • 6-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Oscar - Clarin River (Mandalus)
  • Trained by: N J Henderson
  • Last Race: Aintree, 7 Apr 2017 14:20
  • Result: 5/9, mid-division, headway after 4 out, 2nd 2 out, soon hung left, slightly bumped rival last, lost 2nd flat, no extra
  • View full form
Trainer Says:

He will go for the Crabbie’s Top Novices’ Hurdle on the Friday. He ran a great race in the Supreme Novices when finishing third to Labaik and I am very happy at the moment with him. It wasn’t my first thought that we would do this again but if he continues to keep us happy then that would be the plan.

Thomas Campbell

Trainer Says:

He ran a good race in the Martin Pipe when finishing fifth to Champagne Classic and he was staying on really well at the finish. He hasn’t run a bad race all season and won his first three and he is likely to be one of my runners in the two and a half miles handicap hurdle.

Top Notch (FR)

Trainer Says:

He was second to Yorkhill in the JLT at Cheltenham and he will go for the Grade 1 Manifesto Novices’ Chase over two and a half miles. He was great at Cheltenham and if it rains at Aintree it won’t hurt him. He is the most consistent person in the world and if he runs to his JLT form without Yorkhill in the race then he would have to have a very good chance.

Video Form
28 Nov 2016:
28 Oct 2016:
28 Nov 2015:

Whatswrongwithyou (IRE)

Trainer Says:

He fluffed his line first time out at Kempton but he put that effort to bed when winning well at Ludlow last time. He goes for the Boys’ Bumper too.

Whisper (FR)

  • 9-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Astarabad - Belle Yepa (Mansonnien)
  • Trained by: N J Henderson
  • Last Race: Aintree, 7 Apr 2017 14:50
  • Result: 2/5, not fluent 1st, in touch, tracked winner after 3rd, driven 2 out, ridden and stayed on to challenge before last, one pace and held flat
  • View full form
Trainer Says:

He ran a great race in the RSA and will probably line-up with Might Bite in the Mildmay Novices’ Chase. There is not a lot those two can go for so they will probably take each other on again.

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