Hender’s Win, Or Hender’s Lose? Newbury Specialist Nicky’s Six Wednesday Runners Assessed
Nicky Henderson’s Six Wednesday Newbury Runners Assessed
Top trainer Nicky Henderson is fresh off the back of an incredible Saturday five-timer and he bids to continue the run with six runners on Newbury’s Wednesday card. We’ve assessed each of his chances below, with our expert producing their verdict on whether or not the Henderson hopeful will win, or lose.
Tweed Skirt – British EBF mares’ ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Hurdle
Nicky Henderson last won this extended 2m4f mares’ novice hurdle in 2020 and he goes double-handed in his bid to win the 2022 renewal.
His main hopeful – according to the market at least – is TWEED SKIRT, who was a Wetherby bumper winner on debut around this time last year.
The 5yo gained her first win since when accounting for the odds-on favourite Go Dante (subsequent fourth in Grade 1 company) at Ascot in November.
Stepping up to this distance won’t inconvenience on that evidence, but she has a penalty to carry for that success, and may not be allowed an easy time of things up top.
Verdict: Impressive winner last time out; form franked, but a penalty makes life tougher and no guarantees that she is allowed an easy lead.
Bridal Knot – British EBF mares’ ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Hurdle
Although the presence of Nico de Boinville on Tweed Skirt suggests that she is the stable first string, James Bowen has ridden plenty of winners for Nicky Henderson in recent weeks and therefore it may be unwise to dismiss his BRIDAL KNOT.
This mare has an impeccable pedigree being a half-sister to Might Bite and Beat That.
She was sent off just 5/2 for a Southwell bumper on debut in November, but could only finish a modest fourth. Whilst she is entitled to come on plenty for that experience, others in this line-up bring a stronger level of form and therefore just a watching brief is advised.
Verdict: Beautifully-bred mare who is entitled to come on for a debut fourth, but just a watching brief is advised on hurdles bow.
Walking On Air – Start Your RacingTV Free Trial Novices’ Hurdle
Nicky Henderson took this contest last year with odds-on favourite Gallyhill, and his WALKING ON AIR is expected to be a warm order for this renewal.
This Walk In The Park gelding has a useful bumper/hurdles pedigree and he was sent off the 11/8F for a Kempton bumper on debut last March.
He ultimately finished a respectable second there, with the winner Shallwehaveonemore since rating an above-average operator over hurdles.
Marginal improvement on that showing should see him tough to beat on hurdles/seasonal debut.
Verdict: Runner-up to a smart sort on debut last March and small improvement should see him tough to beat on first hurdles start.
Son Of Camas – Rocking Horse Nursery At Newbury Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase
SON OF CAMAS is the sole representative for Nicky Henderson in this extended 2m handicap chase.
This Creachadoir gelding was a bumper and hurdles winner at this track earlier in his career, before finishing third in the 2020 Grade 1 Tolworth Novices’ Hurdle.
His career has somewhat stuttered since, with his chase record 0-5; beaten favourite at Ludlow last time out. Blinkers now go on for the first time, but others in this line-up do bring a far stronger level of form into the race.
Verdict: Unbeaten at the track and blinkers could unlock improvement but others in this line-up rate more reliable propositions.
Gran Luna – DJB Cleaning Ltd Mares’ Handicap Hurdle
Newbury specialist GRAN LUNA brought her record at the track to an unblemished 3-3 when justifying favouritism last month, and she looks a live contender back over the same course and distance.
The 6yo was ridden out to score by a head the last day, and the narrow margin of victory resulted in just a 2lb rise from the handicapper.
That rise looks far from insurmountable, but three reopposing rivals weren’t beaten far the last day, and the smart Miss Heritage is now back against her own sex, so this is expected to provide a tough test and at the prices she can be opposed.
Verdict: Unbeaten at the track but didn’t appear to have masses in hand last time and looks worth opposing at the prices.
Kingsand Bay – Don’t Miss A Beat With Free RacingTV Open National Hunt Flat Race
Nicky Henderson last took this bumper in 2018 with Morning Vicar and he has the debutante KINGSAND BAY entered up for Wednesday’s closing race.
This Blue Bresil gelding’s price rose from £16,000 to €38,000 at the sales, and he has the pedigree to make a mark being a half-brother to four winners, the most famous of those being the 2019 Greatwood Hurdle winner Harambe.
Expect the market to be informative in regards of what to expect here, but the likes of Authorised Speed and Clifton Bridge bring a smart level of form into this.
Verdict: Newcomer who is bred to make his mark but those to have ran bring a solid level of form into this.