horse racing

NTF Festival Files: Nicky Henderson – The Hendo Hot-Spots at the Festival…

Safe to say there are plenty of grown men and women counting down the sleeps till Christmas Cheltenham….

Today in ‘NTF Festival Files’ we move on to the trainer who well and truly smashed the others out of the park last season; NICKY HENDERSON…

#Figures sourced from the excellent Proform database – Figures from the 2007 – 2012 Festivals


NTF Festival Files: Nicky Henderson

The bare figures…

15/193 | 8% S/R | +£19.10 BFLSP – Win & Place 54/193 | 28% S/R

The strike rate for Henderson probably isn’t as high as maybe expected but that can possibly be explained by the below-par Festivals of ’07 & ’08. His overall strike-rates at the past 6 festivals read 0% – 0% – 9% – 8% – 5% – 19% and in truth if he can get anywhere near what he achieved last season then he will be doing bloody good!

Statistically speaking (and using the market as a guide) Henderson has won pretty much bang on the number of races expected at the past 6 festivals i.e. as a whole he isn’t over or under-performing.

But what areas do the Henderson string excel at, where has he been struggling and can we zone in on any seriously profitable angles?

Let’s start digging…


Jockey bookings tell plenty…

10 of Henderson’s 15 recent festival winners have fallen the way of Barry Geraghty.

That is no real surprise to you I’m sure but lets take a look at the Hendo/BG axis along with 2 others that regularly ride for Hendo at the Festival….

Hederson/Geraghty – 10/66 | 15% S/R | +£16.67 BFLSP – Win & Place 19/66 | 29% S/R

Henderson/McCoy – 1/23 | 4% S/R | -£11.08 BFLSP – Win & Place 8/23| 35% S/R

Henderson/Tinkler – 0/21 | 0% S/R | -£21.00 BFLSP – Win & Place 5/21 | 24% S/R

I would expect Geraghty to be top of the pile, he is the yards number 1 and rightly so gets to pick most of the cream of the talent (exception maybe the JP McManus runners).

The McCoy record is a little bit surprising and he is marginally under-performing (taking the market as a guide); the partnership have had a few fancied runners (or at least single figured runners) beaten at recent festivals. The win & place figure of 35% is admittedly pretty decent so all is not completely lost.

Andrew Tinkler is in a position where by he scoffs up any scraps that Geraghty and McCoy don’t want… unfortunately they do seem to be just that; the scraps! None of them have been that well fancied and he has not been able to get any of them home in front.


Sticking with the jockey angle…


Geraghty on-board Last Time Out is a solid pointer…

So much so that of the 15 recent festival winners for Henderson 12 of them were ridden by Geraghty on their last start before the festival.

Again that isn’t a huge surprise, he is the regular rider for Hendo, but it is, at the very least, an interesting pointer. Here are the figures in full…

Henderson runner ridden by Geraghty LTO – 12/85 | 14% S/R | +£73.37 BFLSP – Win & Place 29/85 | 34% S/R

They clearly want their main man on top to road-test their Cheltenham hopefully on its final public run before the Festival.

Be wary of the Henderson runners returning from a 66 day+ break…

Henderson is generally a reliable trainer when it comes to his horses returning from a lengthy break, however, that hasn’t been the case at recent festivals…

Henderson runners DSLR 66 days+ – 0/46 | 0% S/R | -£46.00 BFLSP – Win & Place 6/46 | 13% S/R

More often than not they will be facing off against rivals that have had a run within that time frame and recently it is the ‘match-fit’ rivals that have been winning out.

Hmmmm… Bobs Worth, Simonsig, Grandouet….


A Non-Handicap race has been the warm up of choice for the Henderson winners…

14 of his 15 recent festival winners had their last start in a NON-HANDICAP contest.

Lets look at the 2 sets of figures…

Last run in a Handicap – 1/68 | 1% S/R | -£48.85 BFLSP – Win & Place 10/68 | 15% S/R

Last run in a Non-Handicap – 14/125 | 11% S/R | +£67.70 BFLSP – Win & Place 44/125 | 35% S/R

Now it isn’t as if he hasn’t had any Handicap winners at recent festivals. The split between Hcps & Non-Hcps is 4 (Handicap winners) and 11 (Non-Handicap winners). The facts are his runners coming in off the back of a run in a non-handicap have a much better chance of victory than those that ran in a handicap last time out. To add a bit of credence to that the ones that ran in a non-handicap LTO are slightly over-performing and the ones that ran in a handicap LTO are slightly under-performing.


Henderson winners coming in off a top 4 finish demand respect…

14 of the 15 Henderson winners finished in the top 4 on their final start before the Festival.

Wow! Shock horror I hear you cry! Despite this being of no surprise it is still worth taking a look at the figures…

Henderson runner with a top 4 finish LTO – 14/142 | 10% S/R | +£50.75 BFLSP – Win & Place 47/142 | 33% S/R

So no real shock with this one but what interests me is that of the 54 win & place horses from Henderson at recent festivals 47 of them finished in the top 4 LTO. It’s something, at the very least, to keep in the think tank.


Nicky Henderson – Cheltenham Festival: The Money Shot!

The Henderson string is clearly a powerful one and they are likely to be supported left, right and centre over the 4 days. I have, however, managed to find a tasty looking ‘Money Shot’ for us to get stuck into…

Taking all of my in-depth Proform searching into account I’ve come up with the following Henderson ‘Money Shot’…

Cheltenham Festival | Nicky Henderson | Non-Hcp race LTO | Ran within past 65 days | Top 4 finish LTO | Ridden by Barry Geraghty LTO

11/48 | 23% S/R | +£91.07 BFLSP – Win & Place 23/48 | 48% S/R

Pretty simple when you think about it!


*Figures for this article have been sourced from the brilliant Proform Professional Database.

Check out their website >>


2013 NTF Cheltenham Festival Service…

Doors open tomorrow (Tuesday 5th March) and limited places will become available. To make sure you don’t miss your slot simply enter your details in the form at the top of the site.

It’s almost here….

. Cheltenham Festival Preview Evening…

Do you live in or around the Cheltenham area? Have you seen this man…

If so do not app…. whoops, sorry wrong programme!!

Of course, I only jest! JP (the JP of JPFestival) holds his first ever Cheltenham preview evening this Thursday (7th March) at the Midland Hotel in Cheltenham and you are all invited! (If you are in the vicinity of course).

Detail of the evening can be found here >>>

I will be there along with a cracking panel and plenty of entertainment (well Mark Boylan signing live for starters!). Mrs NTF has to stay at home with the NTF hounds and my translator has been called away on other duties (Alex Ferguson has him booked for a couple of days, big football match happening apparently!!) so I’ll be let off the leash in Cheltenham to share some of my festival thoughts!

It would be great if you could make the trip along 🙂

Ben (NTF)

4 responses to “NTF Festival Files: Nicky Henderson – The Hendo Hot-Spots at the Festival…”

  1. Hi Ben,
    I believe I’m correct,didn’t Jerry Mcgrath ride @ 40/1 winner for Henderson at last years festial?

    • Hi Dan

      He did but I only looked at 3 jockeys for the article. McGrath only had 4 rides at Festival for Henderson so just wanted to include the ones that were a bit more relevant (statistically).

      Cheers – Ben (NTF)

  2. Who are the qualifiers for the money-shot going to be?

    Aside from Sprinter Sacre, there’s River Maigue, Une Artiste, Hadrian’s Approach, Chatterbox, Captain Conan, Oscar Whisky, Rolling Star…and Tetlami.

    The latter will be the biggest price of all the qualifiers, running in the Grand Annual which carries the name of Nicky’s dad, and I’m pretty sweet on his chances at 20/1. It may take until the last race of the Festival for the Henderson money-shot to get a decent-priced winner, but hopefully it will be worth the wait!

    • Hi Dan

      Tetlami is an interesting shout and I’ve been keeping a close eye on him. Personally I think they have been keeping him low key with a view to a bit of an attempted handicap scoop, running against Overturn at Musselburgh was probably a deliberate move as they knew they would have had little chance under the conditions to win that race, in the process keeping his Hcp mark favourable. Barry G has ridden him on most of starts as well so must be a chance he will be on-board come festival time…

      Thanks for the comment – Ben (NTF)

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