The 2012 Cheltenham Festival belonged to one man with trainer Nicky Henderson picking up no less than seven winners at the biggest meeting of the season. The Seven Barrows handler was in inspired form last year and as the 2013 Festival approaches, questions are being asked as to weather he can repeat the trick this time around. The main aim of National Hunt trainers is to get their horses at the peak of their powers in time for the Cheltenham Festival and Nicky Henderson is certainly the man to beat in that respect given his record at Prestbury Park.
Henderson was quick to dismiss the chances of him repeating those seven winners in 2013 at a recent media day, but there is no doubting that his team is in rude health with the Festival just three weeks away. Punters have been piling into the likes of Sprinter Sacre in the Champion Chase and Simonsig in the Arkle with both horses considered the 'bankers' of the Festival by most experts. Assuming that both of those two superstars win next month, Henderson will once again be well on his way to securing the Cheltenham Festival Top Trainer title once again.
Outside of Sprinter Sacre and Simonsig, Henderson will be saddling the likes of My Tent Or Yours, Riverside Theatre and Bobs Worth among many others. My Tent Or Yours is likely to start the Supreme Novices Hurdle as favourite while Riverside Theatre will be looking to win the Ryanair for the second year on the bounce for connections. Bobs Worth is set to start the Gold Cup as favourite having won at the Festival for the last two years while his main opposition could come from 2011 Gold Cup winner and stable-mate, Long Run, who is coming into the race off of a fine King George win.
Taking all of that into account, it is fair to say that Henderson has a frightening line-up on his hands heading to the Cheltenham Festival next month. We are yet to even mention the likes of Finians Rainbow, Grandouet and Rolling Star who are all more than capable of going close meaning just maybe it is conceivable Henderson could match his tally from 2012. Racing fans will of course know that winners at Cheltenham don't grow on trees and while Henderson will need a fair amount of luck to repeat his seven winners from last year, looking at his likely string it is far from impossible.