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Jumps stable tour: After sight-saving eye surgery Nicky Henderson set for big season with Constitution Hill and Shishkin

NICKY HENDERSON has a clear vision of how he wants this season to pan out at Seven Barrows.

The trainer has had a sight-saving operation on his eye over the summer and it’s given the 71-year-old a new lease of life.

Nicky Henderson is leading a strong team into the new jumps season

Henderson had to settle for second best to Paul Nicholls in the trainers’ championship.

But come the big races in the spring, he was the only one able to handle the Irish onslaught at Cheltenham and Aintree.

Big guns Constitution Hill, Shishkin and Jonbon will be out to do battle in the championship races again.

Constitution Hill

“Last season was amazing. We never dreamed it would go as well as it did. We are thinking about the Ascot Hurdle to start him off with, but it’s still to be decided.

“That is over a bit further, which is fine, but there is the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle, too. I would love to run him at Kempton in the Christmas Hurdle after that.

“Then before the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham there is the Contenders Hurdle at Sandown, that’s a race I have always loved. There is the Kingwell at Wincanton, too.

“He’s definitely got bigger and stronger and we could go chasing if we wanted to. But his engine is his biggest weapon.”


“Everyone still says his Clarence House Chase win against Energumene was the best race of last season.

“Maybe it was, but it all went wrong at Cheltenham. The rain came and I could tell something was up before the first fence.

“He was soon pulled-up and we found he had a chronic bone disorder so needed some time off. He’s back cantering but there’s no rush. The Champion Chase is the race at the end of season.”


“He’s only ever been beaten by Constitution Hill. To split them up Jonbon will go chasing now.

“He looks great since he’s come back and you would have to hope he could be a real star in the novice chase division. He has the potential.”

“She had another great year last season, winning three Grade 1s and bumping into Honeysuckle in the Champion Hurdle.

“She stepped up to two and a half miles at Aintree and that gives us a few more options this year. If she doesn’t look up to beating Honeysuckle and Constitution Hill then she could go down the Mares’ Hurdle route.”

Constitution Hill is favourite for the Champion Hurdle
Jonbon will go novice chasing this winter

Marie’s Rock
“You could not have dreamed up the season she had last year. To win at Cheltenham and Punchestown was incredible.

“I imagine she’ll stick to similar sort of races this year but she might stay a bit further if we want to explore going over three miles at some point.”

Chantry House

“He’s grown a hell of a lot over the summer, he looks mightily impressive. We know he can be very good. There are lots of options for him.

“The Grand National is an interesting one for him. He could start at Newbury in the Coral Gold Cup, he will like the track there. I still think he can be a contender in a Gold Cup possibly.”


“He’s had more surgery on his back and will stay over hurdles again this season I would have thought.

“His best run was at Ascot in the Long Walk Hurdle but I don’t think we got him back to that after that. There are still some nice races to be won with him.”

Fusil Raffles

“He was lucky to win the Charlie Hall last year but you don’t get much good luck in this game.

“We’ll probably aim for the same race again and go from there. He can go over hurdles and fences so we shouldn’t be short of options.”

Walking On Air

“We thought he would be a real contender at Cheltenham but he got a sore back and we had to take him out. After that he just didn’t turn up at Aintree and I suppose he just didn’t have a proper preparation.

“He’s had some work done over the summer and looks good again now. He hasn’t had much racing so will stay over hurdles for now. He should be able to mix it with the best in that stayers’ hurdle division.”

Mister Fisher

“Ground is very important to him. He doesn’t like it when it’s too soft. We should be able to find some races with him. He won a Grade 2 with him last year and hopefully he will be up to that again with his conditions. He’s good on his day.”


“Sadly he had a very bad injury last season, he broke his pelvis. We thought we might have lost him at one point so it’s a miracle we are even hoping he might make it to the track again.

“It’s been a long road but hopefully we can get him back. If not he will have a happy retirement.”


“He finished the season very well last year with a good performance at Ayr. He’s not had much racing. I do think there is more to come with him.

“He should be able to go into graded races again this season. He’s had his back done over the summer, hopefully that helps.”

“She would have liked a drop more rain at Newmarket but she ran wtih credit in the Cesarewitch at Newmarket.

“She’s still a novice over hurdles and now we will aim her season around the Mares’ Novice at Cheltenham. We think she’s pretty good.”

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