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Camilla Henderson: Sprinter Sacre just needs more time but there’s a lot to look forward to at the Hennessy meeting

Our guest blogger reflects on the Paddy Power Open meeting, gives a little insight into the Team Hendo performances lately and why she loves Newbury so much (great cocktails)

by Camilla Henderson | November 28, 2014

I thoroughly enjoyed the Paddy Power weekend at Cheltenham a couple of weeks back. And, although it wasn’t the best weekend for the Seven Barrows team, it wasn’t a complete disaster.

We had a couple of seconds while Vyta Du Roc and Barry Geraghty pulled it out the bag on the final day in the SkyBet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Trial.

Oscar Whisky ran a blinder in the Paddy Power Gold Cup in fairly soft conditions, which were not in his favour. He gave the winner, Caid Du Berlais, trained by Paul Nicholls, a hefty 13lbs, and ran on pretty impressively up the hill in the finish. Our horse fought till the end.

Let’s just say the outcome was told through Barry’s facial expressions: one big fat smile! I was delighted to see Team Hobbs at the top of the leader board, accumulating an impressive six winners over the three days. I congratulated Diana, his youngest daughter on each winner, until Vaniteux was piped on the line by Garde La Victoire in the Greatwood Hurdle. Then I had to say to her: ‘Hey, enough is enough now Hobbsie!  Let us have one!’

There is a lot of love between Team Hobbs and Hendo. Friendly banter and comradeship is part and parcel of this sport we love.

Nicky Henderson

At least we’re keeping Her Majesty happy…

All the Hendo horses are running well, and most are getting placed. Just some perhaps need the run and are finding it a little tough this early on in the season, battling through the soft ground. This will probably explain why we don’t have as many running this weekend. As annoying as it is, there is no point making horses run if they won’t enjoy the conditions and have a bad experience. Monday was a really frustrating day for NJH at Kempton. Three favorites, West Wizard, River Maigue and Lough Kent were beaten, coming second. Then, poor old Polly Peachum blundered at the last, resulting in being pulled up immediately. Thankfully she is OK. Saving the day, however, Theinval and Jack Frost (who is owned by Her Majesty) both came out in front. So at least we’re keeping Queenie happy. Quite important!

 Sprinter-Sacre-2013

All hope is not lost with Sprinter Sacre

Frustrations are hard felt all round the camp that Sprinter Sacre, sadly, is not going to run in the Tingle Creek as he is not quite 100% ready. Sprinter is in fine form at home after spending four days in Newmarket with equine cardiologist Celia Marr. He did two canters on Thursday morning so everything is on track there, but he just needs that bit more time. I really feel for Dad with the enormous amount of pressure he has to deal with, especially over the past few weeks with everybody’s expectations during this time of the season. We have such an amazing hard working team at home. They plough on through, no matter the circumstance, so this always helps to manage the stress levels.

Newbury All Fallers

A tip for the Hennessy meeting

We started the three-day Hennessy festival off well on Thursday with L’Ami Serge,in Simon Munir’s colours, winning the last nicely under BJ Geraghty. Hadrian’s Approach no longer runs in the Gold Cup and Sign of a Victory has been pulled out of the Fighting Fifth because the conditions are too soft for them. We have Triolo D’Alene flying the flag, hoping to keep his crown after winning last year. Obviously his task is a lot harder with top weight. However, we know he is tough and he certainly has the best pilot on board, so he still has a good chance. One to look out for otherwise would be Hammersly Lake in Michael Buckley’s colours who runs in the Bet365 Novice Limited Handicap Hurdle (Saturday, 1.50).

…and why it’s such a tasty event

I will hopefully be enjoying a couple of Hennessy cocktails in the day then heading down to the Outside Chance marquee after racing. This famous racing pub, based in Marlborough, is owned by the Sangster family, Howard Spooner, Freddie Tulloch & AP McCoy. Their pop-up marquee parties have been a huge success over the years at various famous equestrian events. We are all really excited that Newbury Racecourse has welcomed them back to host the Hennessy party this year.

Have a fabulous weekend,

Camilla x

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