Henderson thinks Whisper “ought to be moving up to three miles”
PICTURE:Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
By Jon Lees 4:55PM 28 FEB 2017
NICKY HENDERSON is swaying towards running Whisper in the RSA Chase and committed Dovecote Hurdle winner River Wylde to the Stan James Supreme Novices’ Hurdle after putting 13 of his team through gallops at Kempton on Tuesday.
A morning which began with Altior and Buveur D’Air working in Lambourn was completed 68 miles to the east on the all-weather surface at Kempton, and Henderson came away satisfied by the exercise involving jockeys Nico de Boinville, Noel Fehily, Daryl Jacob and Jerry McGrath.
The quickest of four separate gallops – three batches of three horses and one of four – featured Consul De Thaix, Protek Des Flos and Thomas Campbell who completed a mile and a quarter in 2min 12sec.
The rest all clocked 2min 14sec as My Tent Or Yours, Divin Bere and Bloody Mary finished upsides in thir gallop, which was followed by workouts for Hadrian’s Approach, O O Seven, Whisper, Fixe Le Kap, Lough Derg Spirit, Premier Bond and Vaniteux.
The main purpose of Henderson’s regular pre-Cheltenham excursion is to give his festival contenders a break from their usual routine and help determine the races his formidable team will contest.
Henderson last week said Whisper, who has won both his starts over fences this season including the Dipper Novices Chase on New Year’s Day, was likely to contest the JLT Novices Chase.
However, following the gallop on Tuesday, Henderson said: “I have been toying with Whisper whether he ought to be going two and a half or three miles. I spoke with Davy Russell last night and talked to Dai Walters [owner] who said he would leave it to us. I’m thinking he ought to be moving up to three miles given the type of race it is likely to be.”
My Tent Or Yours: worked well on Tuesday according to his trainer
PICTURE:John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)
Henderson used the course to work three before racing on Saturday and was joined on Tuesday by Richard Kelvin-Hughes, owner of Vaniteux, Hadrian’s Approach and Thomas Campbell.
“It’s an away day for the horses,” Henderson said. “It sparks them up a bit. There is no doubt they put a bit more into it because they are away and on the racecourse. We could have worked any amount. They would have done a fair bit more because they have been in the paddock and everything.
“I thought My Tent Or Yours was good. I have to decide about Divin Bere. They have put him up again this morning so I have to decide whether he goes to the Fred Winter or Triumph. His form was franked by Master Blueyes on Saturday and he was giving him weight when he beat him.
“I think Lough Derg Spirit will go to Aintree because the owners have River Wylde. He looked good here on Saturday and I think he ought to come into the Supreme and Lough Derg wait for Aintree over two and a half.
“I was very pleased with Consul there. Daryl was very enthusiastic about him. He’s in the Supreme, Neptune, County and Coral. He had a problem around the time of the Betfair Hurdle.”
Henderson said Triumph Hurdle hope Charli Parcs, a faller in the Adonis Hurdle won by Master Blueyes, was likely to run at the festival. The trainer made that decision after he visited Barry Geraghty, who has been ruled out of the meeting having suffered multiple rib fractures and a punctured lung in the incident.
Henderson said: “Barry was actually in quite good spirits. He is very philosophical. I’d say the fact he can’t ride at Cheltenham hurts more than the pain itself. We don’t know if he would have won but he said Charli Parcs had picked up. I suspect he’ll still run.”
Henderson has come out stridently against the Jockey Club’s proposals to close the track to make way for a 3,000 home development, and he saw evidence of the venue’s non-racing commitments as the course hosted 10,000 traders and customers at its twice-monthly antiques market, which is recognised as the best of its kind in Europe.