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2016 Champion Hurdle runners - Nicky Henderson to send five-strong team

Jon Wilde in Tues. 14th March 10 Mar 2016
  • A maximum field of 13 will line up for the 2016 Champion Hurdle
  • Get the latest news on the Cheltenham Festival's Tuesday highlight
My Tent Or Yours, one of Nicky Henderson's five Champion Hurdle runners (credit: Cheltenhampro.com)

Trainer Nicky Henderson plans to run five horses in the 2016 Stan James Champion Hurdle, for which a maximum field of 13 will go to post on Tuesday March 15 at the Cheltenham Festival.

Annie Power, the Willie Mullins-trained mare, has been supplemented and is likely to start favourite after the same stable's Faugheen, last year's winner, was ruled out for the season due to a leg injury last month.

Heading the list of other challengers is Henderson’s quintet of Top Notch, Peace And Co, Hargam, Sign Of A Victory and My Tent Or Yours, the last-named having been absent for almost two years - and Henderson has revealed he intends to run all five.

The trainer reported that My Tent Or Yours is likely to be ridden by Barry Geraghty, with Mark Walsh on fellow J P McManus-owned runner Hargam.

Owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede will be represented by Peace And Co and Top Notch, but retained jockey Daryl Jacob has yet to pledge his allegiance. Nico de Boinville is expected to get the leg-up on whichever horse Jacob does not ride.

Andrew Tinkler will partner the other Henderson contender, Sign Of A Victory, who wears the same Matt and Laura Morgan colours the jockey carried to victory on Call The Cops in the Pertemps Handicap Hurdle Final last year.

Henderson, who has won the Champion Hurdle a joint-record five times with See You Then (three), Binocular and Punjabi, said:
“Everyone is just sitting on the fence at the moment because of the weather. 
“I imagine Barry will ride My Tent Or Yours, which means Mark Walsh would be on Hargam. Andrew Tinkler will almost certainly ride Sign Of A Victory but as for the other two, we are still not sure. Daryl will come and have a sit on them.
"Top Notch worked well on Wednesday and would love the ground to stay soft. That would also not inconvenience Peace And Co too much but he still has one more piece of work to do.  Basically, Daryl will probably leave it late until he has to decide.”

A second supplementary entry in the race arrived in the form of Lil Rockerfeller, whose trainer Neil King and enthusiastic band of owners have decided to take their chance following the five-year-old's recent success in the Grade Two National Spirit Hurdle at Fontwell.

King said:
"We entered him in the Coral Cup and the World Hurdle, but handicaps are out now and he has never run over three miles. I had a chat with the owners and they were excited by the idea.
"The manner of his Fontwell victory was very impressive.  He's an improving young horse and it's so wide open we must have a go. Also, the yard is in such good form - from our last 11 runners we've had five winners and five seconds.
"Everyone tells you how hard it is for five-year-olds and by now I expected him to be running over three miles, but he just keeps improving."

As well as Annie Power, Mullins could run Nichols Canyon and Sempre Medici, while Identity Thief for Henry de Bromhead adds to the Irish hand.

The home team is headed by The New One, having his third run in the race for Nigel Twiston-Davies.

Paul Nicholls' Old Guard and Robert Walford’s Camping Ground complete the 13-strong list.

Walford said of the latter:
"The Champion Hurdle looks more open than in previous years. Faugheen and Arctic Fire were the top two horses in the race and without them it’s definitely more winnable. 
"On ratings, Camping Ground has only six or seven pounds to find. We hope he can find it but we are not going there expecting."


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2016 Champion Hurdle runners - Nicky Henderson to send five-strong team

Trainer Nicky Henderson plans to run five horses in the 2016 Stan James Champion Hurdle, for which a maximum field of 13 will go to post on Tuesday March 15 at the Cheltenham Festival.

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