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Nicky Henderson hoping for Cheltenham Festival boost

It’s been a mixed week for trainer Nicky Henderson when it comes to his prospects of success at the Cheltenham Festival next March.

His 2013 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Bobs Worth put in a disappointing performance at Leopardstown on Sunday, but that blow was softened by the return to the racecourse of Sprinter Scare.

Henderson has already endured one setback this season when his 2014 Champion Hurdle runner-up My Tent Or Yours was ruled out for the entire campaign with a tendon injury.

He is also still waiting to get 2013 Arkle Trophy winner Simonsig back on the track. Simonsig has not run since that day due to a splint in his near-fore, but it is hoped he will be back in time for Cheltenham.

As for the Cheltenham chances of former Festival winners Bobs Worth and Sprinter Sacre, Henderson will be anticipating positive progress over the next couple of months.

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by  Carine06 

Starting with Bobs Worth, his season is being geared around a tilt at regaining the Gold Cup after he finished a four-length fifth to Lord Windermere last season.

But his eighth-placed finish of nine runners behind Roads To Riches in Sunday’s Lexus Chase at Leopardstown – a race he won last year – will be a concern.

Owner Malcolm Kimmins was inclined to blame the ground, saying: “The ground was horrendous and he just couldn’t deal with it. The Gold Cup has always been his major aim and we’re still on track for that.”

Bobs Worth’s fondness for Cheltenham – he won the 2012 RSA Chase as well – certainly means he shouldn’t be ruled out of the Gold Cup equation yet. And, for betting watchers, he does offer value at a current price of around 16/1.

As for Sprinter Sacre, he will hopefully be back in action at Ascot on January 17 in the Clarence House Chase.

He jumped five fences in a racecourse workout at Newbury on Monday just over a year after he was pulled up at Kempton. He was subsequently diagnosed with a heart complaint.

Henderson was happy with the spin at Newbury and said: “It was a massive step in the right direction.” 

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