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Nicky Henderson and his fairy tales

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    Ex RubyLightEx RubyLight
    • Total Posts 1493

    This time, I’m talking about Altior. Apparently he was an intended runner at Kempton over the weekend with the going described as Good to Soft, Soft in places and the stick reading at 6.9.
    The going will be approximately the same for next weekends Clarence House Chase. All of a sudden Altior hates this kind of going, since UDS likes it so much.
    Now he’s won two Champion Chases on Soft and other G1 or G2 races on Good or Good to Soft. Why would he hate next weekends going and how does his trainer already know how the exact going will be?
    What is this person (not trustworty at all) trying to tell us?

    • Total Posts 3069

    He’s managed to turn Altior into a pantomime horse.

    He’s going to run at Kempton – oh no he isn’t, oh yes he is, oh no he isn’t.

    Look out Frodon, he’s behind you – oh no he isn’t.

    There was an old trainer that lived in a shoe,

    He had so many horses, he didn’t know what to do.

    • Total Posts 2260

    Henderson on the Kempton race
    “The only good bit of news is on that ground today, I probably wouldn’t have run him.”

    So if similar ground at Ascot he probably would have been declared a non-runner if entered although this is shorter

    But if the ground is considered Good to Soft (Soft in places) what ground would Altior run on. If it’s the same at Cheltenham come March will he be scratched from the Champion Chase :scratch:

    The Tatling Cheekily
    • Total Posts 208

    Furious that the BHA didn’t mention he had rang the integrity line in the morning – to do what exactly, cover his arse by telling them he had noticed the horse was on the drift?

    Not good at all.

    • Total Posts 364

    Seeing as how Her Majesty has set aside today to remove two of her personal stable to be cared for in Canada, if she has a spare second maybe she’d be best advised to move her horses away from N H to someone else. (anyone else to be honest)

    Cork All Star
    • Total Posts 326

    Trainers should not be sponsored by bookmakers. It would not happen in other racing jurisdictions.

    Venture to CognacVenture to Cognac
    • Total Posts 17062

    It’s always him. Every season.

    I got quite irritated by people defending the situation, saying “yes, but you do realise that there wasn’t a market on the exchanges for the race”. Well yes, most people do realise that, it’s the bloody sea of blue on Oddschecker for Top Notch that we’re talking about. It’s those markets we’re talking about, bringing up the Exchanges is a complete diversion/irrelevance for this particular incident.

    On the subject of exchanges, there was one part of that morning that really, really pissed me off, and I didn’t see one single murmur about it from anyone.

    There has been ten months of “will he, won’t he” step up in trip for Ryanair/Gold Cup, and Henderson himself openly discussed this possibility.

    Last Tuesday morning, with all the furore going on, and crucially, just as the markets were suspending for the Initial entry stages for The Ryanair/Gold Cup (and Champion Chase), Henderson casually mentions that Altior would be only be getting one entry at Cheltenham, The Champion Chase.

    That stunk. These races certainly had markets on the exchanges, and though volumes traded can be overstated, nonetheless, they’re popular markets, and I’m sure that those who backed Altior for those races, even after his defeat at Ascot, would have been delighted at Henderson waiting till the last very moment before stating that he’d be going Champion Chase.

    Altior wasn’t available at 4’s, 5’s for The Champion Chase for no reason.

    Ex RubyLightEx RubyLight
    • Total Posts 1493

    The ones that come to mind are Binocular a NR in the 2011 CH, Sprinter Sacre a NR in the 2014 CC, Altior a NR in the 2017 Tingle Creek (had his wind surgery 2-3 days after being withdrawn) and Santini in last years RSA Chase a drifter from 6/4 to 6/1 and still finishing 2nd.

    All of them the best horses in their respective category and it mostly happens to NRJ.

    • Total Posts 2912

    I think he is a misty eyed optimist with regard to the health and speed of return to fitness of his horses. Take the injury to Buveur d’Air for example. He had surgery to remove a large chunk of hoof at the coronary band. After the surgery the trainer said this:
    “I think this season is going to be a grey area.

    A quick google of “horse hoof growth rate” reveals this on the first page:
    Hoof growth occurs from the coronary band down toward the toe. The average hoof grows 1/4 to 3/8 inch per month. Since the average hoof is 3 to 4 inches in length, the horse grows a new hoof every year.

    There you go. A year. This season was never “a grey area” after surgery. No amount of heat therapy, salt water spas, lasering, platelet rich plasma, stem cells, biotin, handcrafted organic Cornucresine lovingly massaged in by nubile virgins by the light of the full moon, magical thinking and hoping is ever going to make tissue heal or grow six times faster than it should.

    My prediction: I think Altior has fistulous withers and will barely get a saddle on his back before Cheltenham let alone run. If he makes it to the QMCC at all (doubtful) he will lose, and not run again this season.

    • Total Posts 5770

    Interesting, Greenasgrass … what makes you say he has fistulous withers? I know Hendo spoke of abscess trouble – is that a hint? Googling suggests it’s a pretty grim condition

    Never argue with a fool. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience, then onlookers might not be able to tell the difference.

    • Total Posts 3490

    Would not touch a Henderson horse with a barge pole Ante Post. Certainly overtaken Mullins on the NH scene, not quite up to Johnny G’s level but he is getting there.

    If they were working in the City of London they would all be sharing a cell now.

    • Total Posts 2352

    Have to admit, i’ve never thought WPM was in Nicky’s league for this. Mullins has had stacks full of horses all in the same divisions. Nicky hasn’t in this case. It’s just his nervousness which i think leads him to not running them. However, combined with the bookie thing + his constant switching, he’s a nightmare. His interview on RTV made him look like he was about to put himself in hospital over it all.

    Nicky doesn’t need the money to be laying off his horses etc. so i’m not concerned with that. His stable do though.

    Twitter: Jackh1092
    Hindsight is 20/20 so make the most of it!

    Ex RubyLightEx RubyLight
    • Total Posts 1493

    Wasn’t Nicky fined some 40k about 10 years or so ago after a prohibited substance was found in one of the Queens’ horses?

    Titus Oates
    • Total Posts 212

    @ green – I’m not so sure it can be that bad re his withers, as the BHA vet was sent to 7B last week during Peak Kerfuffle and stated that the horse was fit to run. Surely that would not have been the case if he had this condition. They surely could not have disguised that?

    I tend to agree though over whether he makes it to the QMCC. All the prevarication, to me, is about wanting to find an easy (graded) race for the horse, where he can boss the field and come home miles ahead in a hack canter. Interestingly, post Tingle Creek, NJH said ‘they knew where they were’ with the 2m division – presumably on the basis of where the 11/12 year old UDS finished in relation to Defi. Now, with the horse only being entered in the QMCC, and supposedly going back to the 2m route, the obvious G1 ahead of that – the Clarence House – and with the same chief opponents in it – is being avoided in favour of the G2 Game Spirit… But what if something else turns up entered in that? Trainers are no longer going to be thinking, ‘Oh not to bother, Altior’s in that’. On current form, it’s not hard to envisage that race being avoided too. And then how attractive will taking on Chacun, Cyrname etc seem? Especially without race fitness .

    One of the sad things, I think, about this whole sorry state of affairs is that it is Altior’s reputation that is the collateral damage. As @ap described it, he has become the pantomime horse. Maybe he will bounce back and restore it. Let’s hope so. But one interpretation of all the prevarication is that the trainer has his doubts. It’s as if he fears another hard race (and possible defeat) will mean the end for the horse on the race course. That, interestingly, is not the course the same yard took with Sprinter, who was beaten on three occasions before coming back. Instead, the horse I keep thinking of as an obvious parallel is, of course, Nijinsky – a peerless horse in his pomp, until he got stretched in the Leger post ringworm, and then lost the Arc, and then was a shadow of the horse he once was in the Champion Stakes. There is discussion on another thread about whether horses know they’ve won. What this raises is what happens when horses accustomed to being, and wanting to be, the leader of the herd (the winner, in our terms) lose that status. Some of them, like Dessie, ‘get their coats off’ (to use the Elsworth phrase) and fight. Others, like Nijinsky, fold. Maybe the fear is that Altior has done just that?

    sporting sam
    • Total Posts 275


    Once upon a time…….

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