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Nicky Henderson
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Cheltenham Festival: A look at Nicky Henderson's Festival runners

Nicky Henderson is Britain's most successful trainer at the Cheltenham Festival, with the Seven Barrows supremo trailing only Willie Mullins in the all-time Cotswolds roll of honour.

He heads for the Gloucestershire showpiece this time around boasting the most exciting jumps horse in training amongst his team of Festival contenders.

We take a look at some of Henderson's leading contenders for glory at the 'greatest show on turf' from 14th-17th March in Cheltenham.

WhatCheltenham Festival 2023
WhereCheltenham Festival, Cheltenham Racecourse, Gloucestershire
WhenTuesday 14th March - Friday 17th March, 2023
How to watchRacing TV, selected races on ITV & bet365 Sports Live Streaming

Arkle Novices' Chase

Jonbon - 6/5

Jonbon has been touted for greatness ever since owner JP McManus parted with £570,000 to acquire the full brother to Douvan in November 2020. The price tag and family tree ensured he was much talked about before ever setting foot on the racecourse.

Things have gone quite smoothly so far. He won his bumper in March 2021, won 4-5 last season over hurdles including a Grade 1 at Aintree and the only horse to beat him so far is the mighty Constitution Hill - more on him below - in the Supreme here last season.

He's bagged novice chase wins at Warwick and Sandown so far, including the Grade 1 Henry VIII in December, and has jumped superbly.

He's the market leader for the Arkle and it looks very much as though a big performance will be required to topple him.

Champion Hurdle

Constitution Hill - 1/3

Quite simply the most exciting prospect in jumps racing right now is Constitution Hill, the long odds-on favourite for Champion Hurdle glory on 14th March.

He swatted Jonbon aside in that Supreme Novices' Hurdle win last March, winning by 22 lengths and setting a new course record in doing so.

This season, he has proved it was no fluke by winning the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle and the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton - Grade 1 races he made to look like a canter.

Nothing has managed to get with 10 lengths of Constitution Hill in his five-race career so far. Can anything give him a race? Even that is starting to look fanciful.

The long talked-about clash with Honeysuckle still remains possible. The mare will bid for three Champion Hurdles in a row if she makes it here, though she has to get by State Man first in the Irish Champion Hurdle. The winner of that race on 5th February will be confirmed as the chief rival for Constitution Hill - if he has such a thing.

Related Cheltenham News

Cheltenham Festival: A look at Willie Mullins' Festival runners

Cheltenham Festival: A look at Henry De Bromhead's Festival runners

Mares' Hurdle

Marie's Rock - 5/2

The opening afternoon really could be all about NJ Henderson, as he has a third exceptional chance to score when Marie's Rock looks to retain her Mares' Hurdle crown.

She won this prize at 18/1 last March and hasn't put a foot wrong since. She crossed the Irish Sea in April and won the Mares' Champion Hurdle at Punchestown to confirm her superiority.

A little later back to action this season, it was worth waiting for as she beat the boys on New Year's Day to win the Relkeel Hurdle at Cheltenham - the ideal preparation for a Mares' Hurdle defence.

Her stablemate Epatante could turn up here, the former Champion Hurdle winner having toiled behind Constitution Hill twice this season, and is 4/1 to win, but Marie's Rock will be a tough nut to crack.

With the Champion Hurdle now seemingly the only target for Honeysuckle, the biggest threat to Marie's Rock in the Mares' race comes from Harry Fry's exceptional Love Envoi at 4/1.

Ryanair Chase

Shishkin - 8/1

The darling of the two-mile division 12 months ago, things have altered dramatically for Shiskin since his odds-on defeat (pulled up) in the Queen Mother Champion Chase last season.

He was turned over again in the Tingle Creek in December on his comeback and looked a pale shadow of his former self in that contest.

That's led Henderson to consider the 2m5f Ascot Chase in February as a possible stepping stone to see what's left of Shishkin's talent. If he can go and win that, the Ryanair Chase will be his target, last year's disappointing favourite having failed to even get an entry for the Champion Chase this time around.

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