Horse Talk: Trainers preparing for Cheltenham

The leading trainers in the UK took part in a series of organised visits from the racing press as they put the finishing touches on the leading fancies for the Cheltenham festival.

Nicky Henderson, Paul Nicholls, David Pipe, Nigel Twiston-Davies and Donald McCain, who have all enjoyed big race success, were generous with their time as they paraded and discussed their runners for the festival, which takes place from March 12 to 15.

Henderson holds a terrific hand, as his anticipated 35 to 40 runners include Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite Bobs Worth, World Hurdle favourite Oscar Whisky and Sprinter Sacre, the market leader for the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

“Bobs Worth has got a bit to prove – he has only really had one run outside novice chasing and that was in a handicap so he has to do it against the big boys,” Henderson said. “It was as good a performance in [winning] the Hennessy as it was in the RSA last year.

“Oscar Whisky is going to go for the World Hurdle with no Big Buck’s around. We are going to be more positive with him than we were [coming a close second] in the Cleeve Hurdle now that we know he stays three miles.

“Sprinter Sacre just loves doing it. People say he hasn’t beaten much, but you can only beat what’s in front of you,” added Henderson, who has an outstanding chance of adding to his all-time record of 46 Cheltenham festival winners.

Simon Jackson is a freelance racing journalist based in north west London. He can be reached at for press and PR enquiries, or racing/betting related news stories and features.