We are now just a matter of days away from the 2013 Cheltenham Festival and one trainer is continuing to dominate the ante-post headlines. Nicky Henderson and his Seven Barrows team are in the midst of assembling one of the strongest looking Cheltenham Festival teams in recent memory. Most punters are expecting Henderson to go head-to-head with Willie Mullins for the Festival trainers title but exactly how many winners will he pick up over the four days?
Plenty of bookmakers are offering a market about how many winners Nicky Henderson will collect at Cheltenham and it would be no surprise to see him equal his tally of seven from last season. He seems to have a major contender ready for almost all of the big races at the meeting while he is sure to have just as many hopefuls lined up for the various handicaps across the week.
The first day of the Festival could be a very strong one for Henderson with My Tent Or Yours in the Supreme, Simonsig in the Arkle Chase and Grandouet in the Champion Hurdle all being well backed. My Tent Or Yours looked looked something very special indeed when winning the Betfair Hurdle last time out while Simonsig is already a Festival winner, and will start the Arkle as a strong favourite. It would be a major surprise if Henderson failed to pick up a winner on the first day of the meeting while two or three winners is not beyond the realms of possibility.
The strongest chance of a Henderson winner next week comes in the Queen Mother Champion Chase with Sprinter Sacre looking like the hot pot of the Festival. The horse has looked nigh on unbeatable over fences this season and provided he is fit and well you have to think he will cruise to a famous win. Henderson is also likely to have last year's winner, Finians Rainbow, in the race who should provide able back-up to the favourite should anything go wrong.
Day three looks another strong one for Henderson team with Captain Conan, Riverside Theatre and Oscar Whisky just three of his big chances on the Thursday. Captain Conan looks a class act and is in great form ahead of the Jewson, Riverside Theatre won the Ryanair Chase last year and Oscar Whisky has every chance of taking advantage of the injury to Big Buck's in the World Hurdle. There are stamina doubts surrounding Oscar Whisky but he is a class act and is currently available at around 3/1 with most bookies for the stayers hurdle.
As we know, the fourth and final day is often considered the big day at the Cheltenham Festival with the Gold Cup taking centre stage and it is no surprise to see Henderson with a strong hand. Bobs Worth looks likely to start the Gold Cup as the favourite having won at the Festival for the past two year's, while his win in the Hennessy Gold Cup back in December looked like a career best run.
There is no doubt that Bobs Worth has a great chance and the same can be said of Rolling Star who is one of the leading contenders in the Triumph Hurdle betting. The horse won his first start for Henderson on Festival Trials Day at the end of January and there is plenty of improvement to come from what looks like a super talented horse. The bookies have him fighting for favouritism for the Triumph with Far West and Our Conor but Rolling Star looks to be the horse with the scope for most improvement.
We are yet to even mention the various handicap runners which Henderson will have across the board ensuring he is likely to pick up at least a winner or two elsewhere. Punters will remember his seven winners last year and although repeating that trick will be tough in 2013 for Henderson, he has more than enough ammo to at least match that remarkable tally. If he is to do that then Henderson will need plenty of luck along the way but whichever way you look at it, he is the man to follow next week.
Number of Nicky Henderson 2013 Cheltenham Festival Winners