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My Tent Or Yours career highlights - Five of the best runs from Nicky Henderson's retired stalwart

My Tent Or Yours in full flight.

Brian Healy looks back at the career of My Tent Or Yours and picks out his five top performances by Nicky Henderson's now-retired stable stalwart.

On Sunday 9 December, Seven Barrows maestro Nicky Henderson broke the news to the horse racing public that classy stable stalwart My Tent Or Yours was to be retired from racing, and that the eleven-year old would move to owner JP McManus’ Martinstown Stud where he would reunite with old pals such as Binocular, who was also trained by Henderson.

Announcing the news in his Unibet blog, Henderson said: "It is with great sadness that I have to announce we have decided to retire dear old My Tent Or Yours.

His old joints were starting to get a little bit rickety and when he's galloped around for so many years like he has, the wear and tear starts to show, so he deserves an honourable retirement.”

Here, Brian Healy looks back at My Tent Or Yours’ career and picks out five of the best performances from the Henderson stalwart.

2013 BETFAIR HURDLE


Having had just three prior starts over hurdles - two of them wins - My Tent Or Yours made his first start in a handicap and Graded company when pitching up at Newbury to contest the 2013 Betfair Hurdle.

Racing keenly having taken a firm grip of the bridle, he was always travelling well in the rain-softened ground, and AP McCoy still held the son of Desert Prince firmly in check as he went on after the second-last hurdle.

He could have been called the winner a long way out, and he only needed to be pushed out to score readily over a strong field, quickening impressively in a race that lacked any real pace to coast home some five lengths’ clear of John Ferguson’s Cotton Mill.

My Tent Or Yours powers to victory in the 2013 Betfair Hurdle, his first run in handicap and Graded company.


2013 CHRISTMAS HURDLE


Having opened his Grade One winning account in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle the previous month, My Tent Or Yours headed to Kempton for a showdown with Nigel Twiston-Davies’ The New One.

Despite six runners, the betting suggested that the race would develop into a match between the pair, and so it transpired with Nicky Henderson’s charge narrowly coming out on top.

50/1 chance Duke Of Navan took the field along early, and AP McCoy dropped My Tent Or Yours into the rear of the pack. A mid-race mistake didn’t cost him any momentum, but he closed up to the lead jumping four out.

Still travelling strongly as The New One went on jumping three out, AP had to get busy on My Tent Or Yours between the final two hurdles after a slower jump at the second last handed the initiative to a horse who would become one of his greatest rivals.

Inching closer with every stride, The New One bungled the final hurdle but still landed narrowly in front and kept on tenaciously; but My Tent Or Yours would not be denied in a thrilling finish and pulled out more when AP McCoy needed it to gain a half-length success. 



2014 CHAMPION HURDLE


In arguably one of the most pulsating Champion Hurdles of recent times, My Tent Or Yours featured in a thrilling finish, carried out on his shield despite failing narrowly to master Jessica Harrington’s Jezki on the run to the line.

Nicky Henderson’s star had been sent off 3/1 second favourite for the hurdling crown behind Willie Mullins’ Hurricane Fly, and he took his customary strong hold as AP McCoy settled him in mid-division.

The race had suffered tradegy when leading Irish hope Our Conor suffered a fatal fall early, leading to the third hurdle before crashing out and leaving Captain Cee Bee in front. Tracking Hurricane Fly’s every move, a slow jump at the second last shuffled AP McCoy and My Tent Or Yours back to fourth, and as the field turned into the straight it was Jezki who hit the front along with Hurricane Fly as McCoy sought to get his mount back into the race.

With only a half-length between the two JP McManus-owned runners, it was Jezki who jumped the hurdle best and kept on doggedly under Barry Geraghty to land the win. Although vanquished on this occasion, it was another terrific Cheltenham run by Nicky Henderson’s star.

My Tent Or Yours (right) fights out the finish of the 2014 Champion Hurdle with Jezki.


2016 CHAMPION HURDLE 


Not seen since finishing third in the 2014 Scottish Champion Hurdle, and having suffered a series of injuries and set-backs, it was a brave decision by Nicky Henderson to pitch the Desert Prince gelding into the Champion Hurdle without a previous run in almost two years.

Despite his long absence, and with Barry Geraghty now in the saddle, he looked well before the race and throughout the contest he showed he still had all his ability intact as he travelled strongly throughout; jumping the second-last hurdle he still held every chance of landing a fairytale win on his return, and turning into the home straight he was little over one length off the pace.

However, race-winner Annie Power sprinted away from the Henderson runner, jumping the last hurdle some four lengths in front of her field to score the victory and banish memories of her last-hurdle fall twelve months previously in the Mares’ Hurdle..

My Tent Or Yours, perhaps found out by the lack of a run as well as giving 7lbs to Annie Power, plugged on for the silver medal spot, beating Nichols Canyon with old foe The New One back in fourth. 

Although vanquished for a second time in the Champion Hurdle, it was nevertheless a fantastic return to action after 703 days off the track.

He would chase home stablemate Buveur D’air twelve months later in the Champion Hurdle to earn a third silver medal, and to many racing fans he has become the best horse to contest but never win the race.



2017 INTERNATIONAL HURDLE


Henderson’s star was still without a win at Cheltenham to his name, having already been beaten into second in a Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and three Champion Hurdles; and the Desert Prince gelding was without a win in eleven prior starts since winning an all-weather bumper at Kempton back in February 2014 when Nicky Henderson sent him to Cheltenham to contest the 2017 International Hurdle.

It was his first start in 232 days, and with his Cheltenham record standing at 0-5, the Seven Barrows stalwart was sent off 5/1 third-favourite behind Willie Mullins’ Melon and his old adversary The New One.

Runner-up in all three previous starts in 2017 in Grade Ones at Cheltenham, Aintree and Punchestown, many were doubting whether My Tent Or Yours had it in his now-ten year old legs to pull out another win, especially at Cheltenham where it seemed he was destined never to triumph.

But reunited with Barry Geraghty, the pair silenced doubters with a stirring finish that saw the Desert Prince gelding prevail and shed his Cheltenham hoodoo. 

Still travelling well on the quarters of The New One as the field jumped the second-last, Geraghty and My Tent Or Yours were going strongly turning in as The New One began to feel the pressure of the Henderson runner and Melon closing on either side.

My Tent Or Yours rose narrowly in front over the last obstacle, but he would face determined challenges on the run to the line from both his old adversary and the much younger Melon; but he would dig deep to land the win and end his losing run to tumultuous cheering from the crowds, crossing the line just over one length to the good.

The 6lbs he received from both rivals probably tipped the scales enough in his favour to finally get the Cheltenham monkey off his back at the sixth attempt; but It was to be his last victory and appearance at Cheltenham, and following another setback on the run-up to a fourth Champion Hurdle tilt, Henderson’s star missed out.



His subsequent fourth-place finish behind stablemate L’ami Serge in the Aintree Hurdle was to be his final run in what was a glittering career, where the longer trip again just seemed to find out the limits of his stamina.

My Tent Or Yours bows out as a two-time Grade One winner, and no-one would grudge the Desert Prince gelding a moment of his well-deserved retirement from racing. In his career the now-eleven year old delivered nine wins from his 24 starts, as well as eleven more placed efforts; in all he amassed just north of £825,000.

We leave the last word on My Tent Or Yours to the trainer who master-minded the Desert Prince gelding’s career, Nicky Henderson: “Luckily nobody retires horses better than JP and he can now join all his old friends like Binocular and the rest of the pensioners at Martinstown where he will be looked after like nothing else on earth – of which he deserves every bit of it.”

And we can’t argue with that sentiment!

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My Tent Or Yours career highlights - Five of the best runs from Nicky Henderson's retired stalwart

Brian Healy looks back at the career of My Tent Or Yours and picks out his five top performances by Nicky Henderson's now-retired stable stalwart.

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