As usual, Nicky Henderson has that spring in his step as another Cheltenham approaches and who can blame him as he has the enviable record of having sent out 55 Festival winners to head the all-time list of winning trainers.
Last year the tears of joy flowed freely as Sprinter Sacre produced an unforgettable performance to win the Queen Mother Champion Chase and Altior took his first major step to stardom when landing the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
Regrettably there is no Sprinter this year as he spend his days in retirement at Seven Barrows but Altior has emerged as one of, if not, the most exciting novice chasers seen for sometime and he appears to have the Arkle Challenge Trophy at his mercy.
The open-looking Champion Hurdle picture has tempted Henderson to run the trio of Brain Power, Buveur D’Air and My Tent Or Yours and there are several exciting prospect in the novices’ hurdles and novices’ chases to suggest his total of winners at the big meeting could even swell to 60 this year.
The master of Seven Barrows kindly guided Tony Elves of attheraces.com the mainstays of the Cheltenham team who he hopes will carry him to further glories at the festival in 2017.