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Nicky Henderson Stable Tour 2024/24 - Key quotes from top trainer

jon-vine
20 Oct 2023
jon-vine
Jon Vine 20 Oct 2023
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  • Key quotes from Nicky Henderson's stable tour
  • Henderson ran through all of his stars for the 2023/24 season with AtTheRaces
  • Get updates on Constitution Hill, Jonbon, Luccia and many more
  • All quotes taken from AtTheRaces
nicky henderson
Horse racing trainer Nicky Henderson with Constitution Hill at Seven Barrows Stables. (Getty)
    Nicky Henderson Stable Tour 23/24
  • 🌟 Stable Stars 🌟
  • Constitution Hill
  • Jonbon
  • Luccia
  • Marie's Rock
  • Shishkin
  • ➡️ Novice Hurdlers
  • Aston Martini
  • Between Waters
  • By The Grace
  • Call The Dance
  • Donwave
  • East India Express
  • Excello
  • Jeriko Du Reponet
  • Jingko Blue
  • Johnny Blue
  • Joyeuse 
  • Kintail
  • Southoftheborder
  • Willmount
  • ➡️ Juveniles
  • Sir Gino
  • ➡️ Older Hurdlers
  • Call Me Lord
  • Champ
  • Doddiethegreat
  • First Street
  • Iberico Lord
  • Impose Toi
  • No Ordinary Joe
  • Steal A March
  • The Carpenter
  • Under Control
  • ➡️ Novice Chasers
  • Jet Powered
  • Mister Coffey
  • Persian Time
  • Russian Ruler
  • Walking On Air
  • ➡️ Older Chasers
  • Adrimel
  • Bold Endeavour
  • Chantry House
  • City Chief
  • Fantastic Lady
  • ➡️ Bumper Horses
  • Bective Abbey
  • Break My Soul
  • Easy Peasy
  • Kingston Pride
  • Shanagh Bob

Ahead of the new National Hunt season, Nicky Henderson guided AtTheRaces through his squad for the 2023/24 campaign.

Here's the full Nicky Henderson stable tour. All quotes taken from AtTheRaces.

Nicky Henderson Stable Tour 2023/24


🌟 Stable Stars 🌟


Constitution Hill


It has been well documented that we are staying over hurdles this season with the aim to retain his Unibet Champion Hurdle crown. I am pretty sure we have made the right decision as both Michael, myself and Nico all know that with his speed and pace that he is unlikely that he would stay extreme distance at this stage of his career. 

The plan would probably be the Fighting Fifth again, the Christmas Hurdle and then the Unibet International Hurdle which has been switched to Trials Day at Cheltenham in January. It will then be the Champion Hurdle and, all being well, either Aintree or Punchestown. He is a wonderful horse, and it would be fantastic if he could go and do it all again.

Jonbon


He has only been beaten twice in his career once over hurdles by Constitution Hill and then by El Fabiolo in the Arkle and is the most lovely horse. Apart from the odd mistake in couple of races his jumping has been pretty flawless, and he has put up some excellent displays. After his defeat at Cheltenham, he bounced back with an impressive display in the Maghull at Aintree and round off his season when beating experienced chasers in the Celebration Chase at Sandown. 

I was considering stepping up to two and a half miles, but Sandown probably told us to stay at two miles for now. He has developed both physically and mentally and let’s hope he has a very bright future.

Luccia


She is a star and made brilliant start to her hurdling career when winning a listed contest at Exeter. We had to give her another run before Cheltenham, so we went to Exeter for another listed contest, this time against the boys, and again she was very impressive. We thought she was one of our best chances at Cheltenham, but we had to rush her to get to Exeter and that may just have taken the edge off her for the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle. I think she is bit better than she showed that day and we took her to Aintree for the Top Novices’ Hurdle when she finished third, beaten two and three quarter lengths, to Inthepocket. 

I have no doubt she is destined for top honours this season and she may well stay further than two miles. She will be running in all those Mares graded hurdles and there’s no reason she shouldn’t finish up in the Mare’s Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.

Marie's Rock


There were few opportunities for her before Christmas, so we started her in the Relkeel Hurdle at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day and she was most impressive when beating Dashel Drasher six lengths. After that it was straight to the Mares’ Hurdle at Cheltenham where she disappointed behind the great Honeysuckle. She was much more her own self when we stepped her up to three miles and she ran a cracking race to finish second, beaten three and a quarter lengths, to Sire Du Berlais. 

She has been a wonderful servant to her owners Middleham Park Racing and three miles in probably now her optimum trip. She has already won over £285,000 and, hopefully, she is ready for another successful season.

Shishkin


What more can you say about Shishkin - he was a champion over two miles in his younger days and it transpires that he is now a genuine stayer. His record speaks for itself, and he was back to his very best in the Betfair Ascot Chase at Ascot in February when beating Pic D’Orhy 16 lengths before not being the most fluent when runner-up to Envoi Allen in the Ryanair. 

We sent him over an extended three miles at Aintree in the Bowl and he had a great battle with Ahoy Senor before coming home a length and a half victor. We don’t know where he will reappear, but the King George VI Chase at Kempton has to be on the agenda and then we will go from there. He is a real superstar and let’s hope he can continue to be a major force in all those top events.

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Nico de Boinville riding Constitution Hill (white) win The Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy. (Getty)

➡️ Novice Hurdlers


Aston Martini


She made a successful debut in her mares’ bumper at Southwell in June, and she has summered exceptionally well. She will go straight over hurdles and hopefully has a bright future.

Between Waters


She was an impressive winner of her point-to-point in Ireland, and she is a lovely looking mare. She didn’t run too badly in her bumper at Ascot, but I would probably have been wiser to have gone straight over two and a half miles over hurdles. That is what she will be doing this season and I am hopeful she can prove something to look forward too.

By The Grace


She was bought as a store at Doncaster with Middleham Park and she has always shown us plenty of ability. She was still on the weak side when she finished runner-up in her only start and can only improve. She had an excellent summer with Ann Duffield in the north and she has come back in great shape. I think she could be pretty exciting when we send her over hurdles.

Call The Dance


She is a lovely home bred mare of James and Jean Potters out of Hora who we trained, and she was a good staying mare herself. Call The Dance finished fourth in what I think was a good race at Ludlow in January and then won very nicely at Southwell in April. She has come back looking a picture, has school very well before going out to grass, and I hope she will take high rank in the mares’ novice hurdle division.

Donwave


He won a hurdle race at Auteuil in June, so he is a novice hurdler for this season. He had a nice break since coming over from France and will have to start with a penalty. You won’t see him until the ground eases.

East India Express


We wanted to run him in the sales race at Newbury and we started him off at Kempton in February to give him experience and Sam Twiston-Davies rode him as Nico was on another one of ours, Iolaos Du Mou. As it turned out East India Express lived up to his name and won very impressively. However, he had a bout of coughing after and missed the Newbury race. He looks a very exciting prospect for novice hurdles.

Excello


He is a very exciting new recruit from France with some excellent form. He remains as a novice chaser until December 1st, but he remains a novice over hurdles and that is probably the route we will take with him. He will need plenty of cut in the ground, but I can’t wait to get started with him. He has summered really well.

Jeriko Du Reponet


He is a lovely individual who had one run in a point-to-point in the north of Ireland and was extremely impressive. He hasn’t been with us that long, but I like what he is showing, and he could be very exciting. We could go straight over hurdles with him.

Jingko Blue


He won a very competitive point-to-point in Ireland in February and was bought at Cheltenham Sales. He was pleasing us at home, but the ground dried up and we had to draw stumps for last season when he had intended to run him in a bumper. He works very well and has schooled very well, and he could go straight over hurdles.

Johnny Blue


He had made his debut in a bumper at Worcester in June and won quite nicely and the runner-up has boosted the form since. He has schooled very well, and we are looking forward to running him over hurdles this autumn.

Joyeuse 


She is a gorgeous filly and a three parts sister to former Cheltenham Festival winner Epatante which obviously gave her plenty of appeal to JP. She had one run as a three-year-old in France which she won nicely and came to us over Christmas and just never stopped growing. She jumps extremely well, and she will go straight over hurdles. She has had a good summer at Martinstown and she is a bigger version of Epatante but we can only hope she might be as good as her.

Kintail


He is another by Blue Bresil who I obviously adore for obvious reasons, and he was very green when finishing second on his debut at Wincanton but went one better in what I think was a warm bumper at Warwick next time. He has schooled very nicely, and we are forward to running him over hurdles.

Southoftheborder


He won his point-to-point for Derek O’Connor, and we gave him one run in a bumper at Ffos Las in the spring and he ran out a comfortable winner. He looks another very exciting prospect for novice hurdles this season.

Willmount


He is a new addition to the stable this season and is by Blue Bresil, who I adore. He won his two bumpers for Neil Mulholland, and he will start his campaign straight over hurdles. He looks something to look forward too.

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Nico de Boinville riding Shishkin clear the last to win The Betfair Ascot Chase at Ascot. (Getty)

➡️ Juveniles


Sir Gino


He won his only start in the Wild Monarch at Auteuil in April and that race has a habit of throwing out some pretty smart horses. He is a gorgeous individual with the size and scope to jump fences in time, but he is still qualified to run in juvenile hurdles, and we hope he can progress and be a high-class juvenile.

➡️ Older Hurdlers


Call Me Lord


He has been an absolute legend for us over the years and consistency has been one of his greatest assets. In 32 starts over hurdles he was won seven and been placed in 22 starts. He may be getting a little older, but he has come back looking as well as ever and he will be contesting his usual events. He is a lovely horse to have around the place.

Champ


He is the most wonderful character to have around even though he has tested us with his various ailments. He obviously won the RSA Chase at Cheltenham in 2020 but, due to his re-occuring back issues we felt he was happier over hurdles. He beat Paisley Park in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury on his return last season before losing no caste when third to that horse in the Long Walk at Kempton and he has won over £450,000 in prize money. He will once again follow the same path and let’s hope he can meet with further success.

Doddiethegreat


He suffered a nasty injury in November 2021 when winning impressively at Kempton and has a serious wound to his tendon. He did three months good work in the spring, and we nearly got him back but we just ran out of time. He is back and we are very pleased with him and let’s hope he can continue where he left off.

First Street


He started off last season with an impressive success in the Gerry Feilden Hurdle under topweight and then probably over-raced when third to Marie’s Rock in the Relkeel over two and a half miles at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day. I thought two miles was more his trip and he ran in the County Hurdle in which he finished second to State Man the previous year and wasn’t beaten far even though he was only 11th. He ran a similar race in the Scottish Champion Hurdle at Ayr and Nico wasn’t confident about his wind, so he has had an operation through the summer. Life won’t be easy over hurdles off his mark, and we might even think of jumping a fence. He has always jumped his hurdles well and whatever he does I think there is more to come from him.

Iberico Lord


He came to us after winning his bumper in France and we were probably aiming a little high when starting him in a Grade 2 novice hurdle at Cheltenham in November. He then fell at the last at Kempton on Boxing Day but came good at Stratford in April and followed up with another cracking effort on the final day of the season when runner-up to our Under Control. I would think there is a lot more to come over hurdles before we send him over fences.

Impose Toi


He is another really nice horse belongs to JP, and he came to us from France after winning two AQPS races. He won two of his races in eye-catching fashion and he has loads of potential. He has the size and scope to jump a fence, but we may keep him to hurdles for the time being. He shows us nothing at home and keeps it for the track but that’s not a bad thing.

No Ordinary Joe


On his day he is a high-class horse, and he won a valuable handicap at Kempton over Christmas. He probably exceeded that performance when runner-up to the well-handicapped Iroko in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap at Cheltenham in March and he is one that will always be in the firing line in those big handicap hurdles.

Steal A March


He had our sight set on the Pertemps Final at Cheltenham and he won his qualifier at Wincanton very well but, most unfortunately, we had to miss Cheltenham as he seemed to lose his action less than a fortnight before. His issues have been identified and hopefully the problem has been resolved. He is still a relatively young horse and, hopefully, he can continue to progress over hurdles.

The Carpenter


For the first two seasons at Seven Barrows I couldn’t get him to the racecourse due to splints and other minor complaints, but the wait was worthwhile when we finally got to Exeter in February and then he followed up with a wide-margin victory at Newbury. He did the same on his handicap debut at Uttoxeter and he is a lovely big horse who will make a chaser in time but there should be plenty of options over hurdles before then.

Under Control


She isn’t very big but has done nothing but thrive since joining us and ended her season winning a £100,000 novices’ handicap hurdle at Sandown in April. She has come back from Martinstown looking great after her summer break and she will go do the Mares’ Hurdle route.

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James Bowen riding Luccia clear the last to win The Play Coral 'Racing-Super-Series' For Free Mares' Novices' Hurdle at Newbury. (Getty)

➡️ Novice Chasers


Jet Powered


He looked a very exciting prospect when winning his point-to-point in Ireland and very much looked that on his hurdling debut at Newbury in November but ran nothing like that on his return there in December. He is obviously much better than that and, hopefully, we have sort out his issues and he can have the opportunity to fulfil his potential.

Mister Coffey


Perhaps a little embarrassingly he is still a novice after two seasons but that doesn’t tell the full story as you know he has been second and third in the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham and probably his best ever run was when finishing eighth to Corach Rambler in the Grand National at Aintree in April. He didn’t quite get home after leading at the 18th, but I don’t think it was necessarily lack of stamina and the National will be on the agenda again. He really shouldn’t have too much trouble winning a novice and he is obviously still qualified for the National Hunt Chase. He is a very honest and genuine horse, and he certainly deserves to win his races.

Persian Time


He did well for us last season and ended his campaign with good effort over two and a half miles at Ayr’s Scottish National meeting when runner-up to Hugos New Horse. He has the size and scope to jump fences and that is where he will finish up. We have yet to decide whether to go over hurdles first.

Russian Ruler


He is a horse we have always adored even though things haven’t always gone according to plan. He came good in the spring, and he looks every inch a two-mile chaser. If he shows us on the racetrack what he shows us at home, we could go a long way with him in novice chases.

Walking On Air


He is a grand big chasing type and, to be honest, he didn’t have a lot of luck last season. He wasn’t beaten far in an decent handicap hurdle at Doncaster in December and then won a Pertemps Qualifier at Exeter in February where he won impressively. He has no sort of run at all coming down the hill at Cheltenham in the Pertemps Final and still finished fifth after having such an unlucky run. It is time to go chasing with him now and we are really looking forward to the season ahead.

➡️ Older Chasers


Adrimel


He had some high-class form as youngster and won the Leamington at Warwick. We have attended to his wind and two and a half miles on soft ground could prove ideal. He is a nice horse to have in the stable and let’s hope we can find some openings for him.

Bold Endeavour


He joined us last season and we switched him to fences and he won his first start at Leicester and followed up at Doncaster. He didn’t jump as well as he can when runner-up in the Reynoldstown at Ascot and we decided to send him back over hurdles where he ran an excellent fifth in the Coral Cup. I would like to go back over fences with him as he is normally a very good jumper, but we always have the option over going hurdling if necessary.

Chantry House


His season was brought to a premature halt when he suffered a horrible fall at Wetherby over Christmas. He has won six of his 11 starts over fences and he has had a great Summer out at Martinstown so let’s hope that has done the trick for his confidence. He is a very high-class horse at his best and I think we can get him back to the top.

City Chief


He did well for us last season winning a couple at Hereford and the Towton at Wetherby but I have to admit I was disappointed with his third to Sail Away at Ayr. He is a good jumper who stays well, and I think he has a bright future.

Fantastic Lady


She has lived up to her name throughout her career and given us plenty of excitement. Her season began with a comfortable victory from Zambella in a Mares’ Listed Chase at Market Rasen in November before she ran below par at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day, but she put up a brave performance when runner-up in the Topham at Aintree in April and gained more black type when third in the Oaksey Chase at Sandown in April. She will go Mares’ Listed Chases again and the Grand National could well be on the agenda again.

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Fusil Raffles (right) tried to track down Chantry House (left) in the Turners Novices' Chase last season. (Getty)

➡️ Bumper Horses


Bective Abbey


He was an impressive winner of his point-to-point in Ireland in January, and he came to us in the spring, and I was delighted with his work and his schooling. He might take in a bumper to start with, but he looks tailor made for jumping and is an exciting prospect.

Break My Soul


She was the impressive winner of her point-to-point in Ireland, and she could possibly start in a bumper or go straight over hurdles. She is a lovely looking filly and clearly has plenty of ability.

Easy Peasy


She hasn’t been with us that long but made a pleasing start at Plumpton in September and she could be an exciting prospect when we send her over hurdles.

Kingston Pride


He was bought at the Cheltenham Festival Sale and won his only point-to-point in April. He is an imposing sort, and I would expect to go straight over hurdles although, like so many of ours, we have the option of going for a bumper first.

Shanagh Bob


He came to us in January after impressing in his point-to-point in Ireland in December and we almost ran him in a bumper, but the ground dried out, so we put him away. He is another exciting prospect from the point-to-point field, and we can’t wait to get him going.


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