Henderson escalating in self confidence with Epatante as he sends Honeysuckle warning | Horse Racing Information

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Epatante: previous Champion Hurdle winner documented in terrific shape for Honeysuckle clash

Ryan Pierse (Getty Illustrations or photos)

By James Burn up, Lambourn correspondent

Nicky Henderson has warned Honeysuckle’s connections that “all superior things occur to an conclusion” as he dares to aspiration about upsetting the Irish wondermare with a revitalised Epatante in the Unibet Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham subsequent thirty day period.

The six-time winner trainer entertained the media at his well known 7 Barrows foundation on Monday, with Shishkin, the 4-7 favorite for the Betway Queen Mom Winner Chase, taking centre phase.

And Henderson is rising significantly hopeful of a championship double specified the kind shown by Epatante, who gave the coach an eighth victory in the Champion Hurdle in 2020 but was no match for the unbeaten Honeysuckle final year.


Epatante was also third to Henry de Bromhead’s celebrity in Punchestown’s Champion Hurdle last April, but a comprehensive summer time MOT and “tons of massages” mean the eight-calendar year-old is back to one thing like her most effective, in accordance to Henderson.

JP McManus’s mare lifeless-heated in the Fighting Fifth before successful the Christmas Hurdle, and the coach stated: “I thought she was great in the Xmas Hurdle and she really did appear like her previous self.

“She was hurdling like she made use of to and tanked Nico [de Boinville] into the race. She was excellent, but we’ve received a single major issue in entrance of us.

Champion Hurdle entries and betting

“Nonetheless, Epatante has been in really fantastic type, entirely different shape from past year, when it all went a little bit pear-shaped. There are other individuals, a new horse [Teahupoo] arrived into it in excess of the weekend, and there is certainly Appreciate It. I was hoping he’d have taken on Honeysuckle the other working day as if nearly anything was likely to give her a examination it was him.

“She looked very superior and will be difficult to beat, but I do imagine we are at minimum back to the place Epatante was when she received her Champion Hurdle. That might not have been the strongest discipline in the planet, I’d be the first to confess, but I assume we’re back in the right position.”

Honeysuckle, on a profitable operate of 14, is a basic 4-9 for the Winner Hurdle on March 15, whilst Epatante is as big as 10-1 with the sponsors.

“She may be under the radar, but she’s not below our radar,” Henderson pressured. “We’re acquiring very good vibes. Her form this year is good, but it’s the way she’s been undertaking it that I have preferred she’s sharp.

“Honeysuckle has looked amazing the total way by. You cannot fault her in any way and it does not seem like there’s a chink in her armour, but we have all had horses who have seemed like that and all good matters do arrive to an finish, like we had with Altior, who acquired to 19. You can under no circumstances say anything is unbeatable. It is pretty rare a horse is unbeatable.”

Ryan Pierse (Getty Pictures)

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Shishkin: rematch with Energumene in Champion Chase eagerly awaited

Shishkin: rematch with Energumene in Winner Chase eagerly awaited

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Shishkin beat Energumene in a thriller in Ascot’s Clarence Residence last month, but Henderson is having very little for granted when it will come to the rematch with Willie Mullins’ heavyweight.

“There’s no way he can be a banker,” Henderson stated of very last year’s Arkle winner, who also landed the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in 2020.

“Ascot was amazing and all people cherished it, bar Willie and me. It was great we arrived out in entrance, but there was not a great deal in it and he experienced us in problems. Shishkin is a tricky horse and Willie’s heading to chuck in Chacun Pour Soi, whom you you should not want to undervalue. I know they’re going to say he will not journey or do this or that, but he can however be a big player.

“Heading left-handed perhaps allows us, but there is certainly not a lot in it. The Clarence Dwelling isn’t going to seem to be to have still left a mark.”

Henderson would suppose the outright record of 7 Champion Chase successes if Shishkin strikes and emulates the stable’s previous star two-milers Sprinter Sacre and Altior.

Winner Chase entries and betting

The trainer added: “In his jumping, he has not acquired the exuberance of a Sprinter Sacre or Altior in the way he isn’t going to stand out and stand off a fence miles away, but you rarely detect he leaves the ground.

“He’s boop, and then absent. He’s incredibly speedy from A to B and you never discover it. Sprinter and Altior both equally had great scope. This horse has baggage of scope, but he crosses a fence in a incredibly various manner and it really is incredibly successful. He’s developed up a large amount this time and grew upwards and outwards about the summer. It was quite apparent.

“In their era Sprinter and Altior probably were being bankers, but we’ve definitely got a combat on our palms. You would like to assume the hill will play to his strengths. Willie claims he would not know how he’ll conquer us, but I believe he’s playing games there.

“I imagine he is seeking ahead to owning a further crack and I will not think he’s that frightened. I might have liked to have received at Ascot by 20 lengths and it was a great race – the one all people wanted – but it hasn’t spoiled the Champion Chase. You will find pretty a great deal place for round two.”

Unibet Winner Hurdle (March 15)

Unibet: 8-15 Honeysuckle, 4 Appreciate It, 8 Teahupoo, 10 Epatante, 16 Zanahiyr, 20 Adagio, 25 bar

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