Skip to content
GO TO bet365 Sports
Nicky Henderson
  1. Horse Racing
  2. Cheltenham Festival

Nicky Henderson's Cheltenham Festival runners

In the days before Irish dominance at the Cheltenham Festival, the name punters clung to most tightly in March was that of Lambourn trainer Nicky Henderson.

As recently as 2018, Henderson was still the all-time leading trainer at the Cheltenham Festival. Since then Willie Mullins has streaked away and is on his way to 100 winners, but most would kill for Henderson's tally, which currently stands at 73. 

Last year was a relatively quiet one for Henderson, who took home just one winner. Again, the fact that his winner was the behemoth that is Constitution Hill is more than a little tonic for Henderson.

Henderson is most associated with speed horses over jumps. As well as his nine Champion Hurdles, he has won the Supreme Novices' five times, the Arkle seven times and the Champion Chase on six occasions. His other notable record is in yet another race around two miles, the Triumph Hurdle.

It is no secret that Cheltenham represents Henderson's biggest week of the year, something which separates him from perennial trainers' title rival Paul Nicholls. The combination of Henderson and stable jockey Nico De Boinville is to be respected all through the Festival. Here are six of his best chances.

Horse Racing


With Constitution Hill not running at this year's Festival, all eyes are on Jonbon to see whether he can step up for Henderson's stable.

This horse has been celebrated since he first made the track as a brother to the great two-miler Douvan in 2022. He was initially thought to be Henderson's best novice hurdler that year, but Constitution Hill soon put that right.

Jonbon was still second to his stablemate in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle and filled the same position behind El Fabiolo in last year's Arkle. He is 10/3 second favourite behind El Fabiolo for the Champion Chase, so the market is suggesting he may have to settle for second best again. 

However, the betting would undoubtedly be closer but for an uncharacteristically sloppy round of jumping from Jonbon in the Clarence House Chase last time, which led to a shock defeat by Elixir De Nutz.

Sir Gino

It has already been mentioned that Henderson excels with juvenile hurdlers. Confidence had been high in Sir Gino before he even made his debut for the yard and he has rocketed to the top of the Triumph Hurdle betting on the back of two wide-margin wins.

The second of those came at Festival Trials Day at Cheltenham. Sir Gino left Burdett Road, a Royal Ascot winner on the Flat who had been among the market leaders for the Triumph, for dust that day. 

With the Irish challenge for the Triumph looking to be not as strong as usual and the other main British hope, Salver, depending on softer ground, Sir Gino is a dominant favourite for the Triumph. At 11/10, he is among the most likely British winners of the week aside from his superstar stablemate Constitution Hill.

Iberico Lord

With Constitution Hill absent from the Champion Hurdle, Henderson has turned to the the supplemented Betfair Hurdle winner Iberico Lord as his main rival for State Man.

Initially favourite for Friday's County Hurdle, the better prospect of soft ground on Tuesday was a factor that encouraged connections to go for the Champion Hurdle and Iberico Lord is 12/1 to come out on top.

Shanagh Bob

Only once has the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle gone back to Henderson's Seven Barrows yard, with future Gold Cup winner Bobs Worth in 2011. Shanagh Bob has a fair chance of doubling his trainer's tally in the race.

This stoutly bred sort is unbeaten in a point-to-point and two runs over hurdles. The second such race was a Grade 2 over 3m at Cheltenham in December. 

That form has worked out favourably, with the second and fourth both making the frame in a subsequent Grade 2 and the third beating a well-touted Paul Nicholls horse on their next start. 

Shanagh Bob will only develop as he learns and he looks the sort of smart chasing prospect that often wins this race. He can be backed at 10/1.


Ah, Shishkin. Racing's most charismatic figure, in the most dubious meaning of the word. 

Long hinted-at temperamental issues came to a head in November, when he refused to race in the Ascot Chase.

In two runs since, Shishkin has been better behaved. But neither run has been a straightforward positive. He was still in front when stumbling on landing two out in the King George, which he would probably have won had he stayed upright given those chasing him were out on their feet. He was then workmanline in winning the Denman Chase. 

It is worth noting that the last two British-trainer Gold Cup winners had won the Denman on their previous start. However, Coneygree and Native River were less talented than Shishkin but had been more emphatic in that race.

Before his attitude started showing up more often, Shishkin had been the best chaser around. You would be brave to have a good bet on him before the Gold Cup field sets off, but odds of 8/1 could look very good after a few fences if he is in the mood.

This article was written by a partner sports writer via Spotlight Sports Group. All odds displayed on this page were correct at the time of writing and are subject to withdrawal or change at any time.

Related Articles

bet365 uses cookies

We use cookies to deliver a better and more personalised service. For more information, see our Cookie Policy

New to bet365? Bet £10 & Get £30 in Free Bets Join Now

Min deposit requirement. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits and are available for use upon settlement of qualifying bets. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply.