“Read the thoughts of five-time Champion Trainer Nicky Henderson and stable jockey Nico de Boinville exclusively at Unibet each week throughout the Jump Season. Unibet are an award-winning sports betting and casino operator with over 16 million customers, and proud sponsors of the Unibet Champion Hurdle, The Irish Gold Cup and betting partner of the Investec Derby.”
IT’S great to be back at Cheltenham today and great to be back in The Sun.
I’ve had a pretty fine summer while I’ve been away from these pages.
I got married to Serena and we were even able to take a honeymoon as I picked up a six-day ban at Stratford one day.
Serena was particularly happy about that so we popped off to France to see Felix de Giles.
It turned into a bit of a busman’s honeymoon as I did a bit of riding out while I was down there. No jokes, please.
I’m sure everyone knows we’ve got lots to look forward to this season.
Altior was one of the first horses to come back in and he’s good.
I know there’s been a lot of talk about him going up in distance but I think we’ll be sticking to 2m.
He’s already won two Champion Chases so it’s sticking to what we know.
We all remember Sprinter Sacre and how wonderful he was – Altior is heading in that direction.
Sprinter was one of the greats so why not Altior?
He could potentially run at Cheltenham next month but his main pre-Christmas target is the Tingle Creek.
At the moment Might Bite will head to Haydock for the Betfair Chase – the first leg of the £1million Jockey Club Triple Crown.
You’ve definitely got to consider that as a target but the Gold Cup showed he’s possibly not quite the same horse on heavy ground.
We have to be mindful of that. It would be ideal if we could arrive at Haydock on good to soft.
The boss Nicky Henderson added a new schooling strip at Seven Barrows in the summer we’re a bit further ahead than usual.
I love our novices – we’ve got a real strength in depth.
I suppose the standout horse from last year is Santini – he’s shaping up well.
The Grech and Parkin team have got a really strong bunch of novice chasers like Claimantakinforgan, Mr Whipped and Lough Derg Spirit – the main problem will be keeping them all apart.
Nico cant wait to ride Santini[/caption]
Today I’ve got three rides at Cheltenham.
Laurium (2.00) didn’t show any form last season but he bounced back to win well at Warwick last month. Over fences around Warwick you do really have to jump and he can do that now.
They’ve raised him 7lbs for that win which I think is quite steep and it is a stronger race today but he’s still in there with a nice each-way chance.
He really does want fast ground – that’s the key to him – so I’m just praying the rain stays away.
LATEST IN HORSE RACING
Monbeg Legend (4.55) has been absolutely fantastic for us this summer.
He ran very well around Chepstow the other day and probably bumped into a nice horse in Spiritofthegames.
The trip and the ground is what he wants. He jumps well and travels great so you do have to try to use his jumping and take lengths out of them. Hopefully we can catch them flat-footed.
We’ll certainly be making them come to us rather than the other way around.
Northern Bound (5.30) makes his debut in the bumper and he’s a nice stamp of a horse.
Ben Pauling’s horses have hit a streak of form in the last week or so and he wouldn’t be aiming at this race unless he thought a bit of him.
He’s owned by a lady who lives just down the road from his yard so it’s nice for them to have a horse good enough to run at their local track.