Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

The Punter: Henderson in running for very special hat-trick

CHELTENHAM is only 10 weeks away and Paddy Power have put up an interesting 9/1 on trainer Nicky Henderson taking the Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase and Gold Cup.



Henderson has such a powerful yard of star horses, that the hat-trick is very much on.

He has Sprinter Sacre as the very short favourite for the Champion Chase while on the Gold Cup front, he holds a strong hand with Bobs Worth and Long Run who showed his battling qualities in winning the King George VI Chase at Kempton for the second time.

Darlan, ridden by Moneyglass ace Tony McCoy|(pictured), enchanced his Champion Hurdle prospects with a tremendous victory in the Christmas Hurdle when thought to need the run and on heavy ground not to his liking.

That effort saw Darlan promoted to 4/1 favourite and let's not forget Henderson also has the fancied Grandouet, Binocular and Oscar Whiskey in the line-up.

Whether they'll be good enough to beat Hurricane Fly remains to be seen, but Grandouet in particular has a big chance after finishing third in last year's Triumph Hurdle and making a significant return this season when two lengths behind Zarkandar in the International Hurdle over the course last month.

It's not easy for a trainer to land all three prestigious races but if there's one man who can do it, it's surely Henderson this year with the quality team at his disposal.

Cheltenham Festival: 13/8 Henderson to train winner of Champion Hurdle; 13/8 to train Gold Cup winner; 1/2 to be top trainer.

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