Author: Alan Kelly
Published: 11:15 17/03/2013
Just how big a threat the Nicky Henderson-trained Grandouet would have posed to eventual winner Hurricane Fly in the 2013 Champion Hurdle if the 6 year-old had not fallen at the fourth-last when travelling well will never be known, but the son of Al Namix has the chance to put the record straight after being confirmed a likely runner in the Rabobank Champion Hurdle at Punchestown next month, a race that is also very much on the agenda for the Willie Mullins-trained champion hurdler.
When speaking about future plans for the stable that celebrated it's 50th festival winner courtesy of Bobs Worth's Betfred Gold Cup victory, Henderson said: The Champion Hurdle was the missing race, so we'll definitely go to Ireland. We'll know whether to stay hurdling if we're good enough to give Hurricane Fly any sort of a fright there. If he's blatently 10lb behind or anything like that, we'll know to go novice chasing next year, but we need to do that to find out this year. I don't think he's a two-and-a-half-mile horse."
The Seven Barrows handler also confirmed impressive Queen Mother Champion Chase winner Sprinter Sacre on course for Punchestown, while My Tent Or Yours and Riverside Theatre are expected to represent the powerful stable at Aintree in three weeks time. Plans are currently up in the air regarding Simonsig and Oscar Whisky however after both were discovered to be not 100% after their Cheltenham efforts, of which Henderson said: " I don't think you saw the proper Simonsig at Cheltenham, we'll have a look at him. He seemed to be running away from something and his scope was not quite right after the race. It's as well we didn't scope him before as I wouldn't have run him."
Regarding the bitterly disappointing performance by Oscar Whisky in Thursday's Ladbrokes World Hurdle, his trainer could find no concrete reason for the below-par effort, but said: " He was a bit lame, but I've not found anything dramatic."