This week we are honoured to present an interview with one of the most influential trainers to grace the National Hunt scene in the last 20 Years. With over 3,000 winners in his career to date, the most successful UK based trainer at the Cheltenham Festival & having trained legends like Sprinter Sacre and See You Then.
It is our pleasure to introduce Nicky Henderson, the 5 time & reigning National Hunt Champion trainer.
Plenty of horses returning from their summer holidays, when are we likely to see the big guns having a run out?
They are nearly all back and we estimate it takes roughly 3 months to get them ready. Some will be ready for October depending on the weather.
How long in advance do you plan the season for individual horses and is a plan formed with the owners?
The big boys have a plan already having discussed them with their owners. Many others have targets of some kinds and we have a good idea who will go Novice Chasing.
Is it difficult finding new owners now to say, 10 or 15 years ago? And how has racing changed in that time in your opinion?
There are new owners coming into the game and I believe the sport is quite healthy overall. It has changed a lot over the last 15 years and a huge amount over the last 40!!
We have been hearing about the Stable staff crisis, what is your opinion and what can be done to try and solve this?
It is probably the biggest problem in racing. We are luckily more or less OK, but many are under enormous pressure. If we were not able to employ staff from overseas it would be nearly impossible to service the race meetings.
The transition from Jockey to Trainer, what was the hardest part?
I was only an amateur lucky enough to ride some good horses trained by Fred Winter and training was always the objective so I didn’t really miss race-riding a lot.
What has given you the most enjoyment… Being a Jockey or Champion Trainer?
I was an amateur rider that enjoyed riding, but Champion Trainer means quite a lot.
With many great successes’, what in your opinion is your favourite?
See You Then was very special but Sprinter Sacre’s comeback and second Champion Chase were extraordinary days.
And finally, what horses are you most looking forward to this season?
Obviously Altior, Might Bite and Buveur D’Air, but I do like Mister Fisher for Novice Hurdling and Santini for Novice Chasing.
We would like to thank Nicky for his time and the enjoyment he has brought to so many national hunt supporters over many years. We wish Nicky and all the team at Seven Barrows all the best for another successful season and the future.
Interview by Rich Williams
Introduction & Pictures – Charles McGreevy