Nicky Henderson has been in the training game for over 40 years. With a stable full of stars, he is once again, aiming for another Trainers Championship title in 2019. Since his first win in the 1985/86 season, Henderson has been a stalwart of the National Hunt scene. With five trainer titles in his back pocket, can he add a sixth this season?
No doubt it will once again come down to a tight finish between himself and Paul Nicholls. Nicholls has ten championships to his name but is currently lagging in the table with only £99K in total earnings and a 12% win rate. Henderson has already notched up over £240K with a 39% win rate. However, it is very early in the season and to date there have no major races that would seriously test either trainer.
During yesterday’s annual owners day, Henderson was keen to show off his star-studded squad and the wealth of talent at his disposal. The likes of Altior, Might Bite and Buveur D’Air were all on display as many speculated that Henderson may already have the season sewn up before it ever really starts.
“Last season was quite special for a lot of reasons,” he said. “There was the big three, but it wasn’t just them.
“We had 14 Grade 1 winners among our 141 winners, and record prize-money, while the strike-rate was very good as well and we also had 85 individual winners, so they all did their bit, which is important.”
With a well balanced string in all divisions Henderson has good reason to feel optimistic about the coming season. Speaking about superstar Altior he said “I think it’s almost certain he’ll start in the Tingle Creek and we’ve been talking about a King George entry.”
Altior is currently unbeaten in 14 starts over chase and hurdles and has contributed in excess of £697K to the Henderson pot. He even has odds of 3/1 to remain unbeaten this season with Betfair.
And such is his staying power as a trainer that he is already 1/8 ON to retain the championship this season. That’s against odds of 9/2 for Paul Nicholls and 33/1 for Colin Tizzard.
Can he bag a sixth title? Only time will tell!