Henderson and Nicholls wage war at Plumpton

They race at Plumpton on Monday / Picture: GettyThey race at Plumpton on Monday / Picture: Getty
They race at Plumpton on Monday / Picture: Getty
Plumpton stages a fascinating six-race card on Monday afternoon as champion trainer rivals Nicky Henderson and Paul Nicholls offer up some exciting future prospects. Here’s my selections for a fascinating day of racing.

The first of the recruits making the trip from Seven Barrows appears in the opener of the day (1:50), when Nico De Boinville gets on board Ahorsewithnoname. The Henderson-trained mare had a successful introduction to racing - winning in bumpers and on the flat - whilst also took well to hurdling when staying on for second in a Listed contest last time out.

Natural History held a rating of 97 on the flat and was owned by none other than her majesty the Queen before making the transition to hurdling. Now, he makes his second appearance over obstacles for Gary Moore having been turned over at short odds last time out. On that occasion, he took a very keen hold but jumped into the race, battling well in testing conditions.

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Further down the market, Sheldon and Ballykardy both demand respect after finishing third when last seen, and Khan - a former Group 1 winner on the flat - is a fascinating entry on his second run for this yard.

It is bound to be an intriguing contest with some exciting prospects on show, however it doesn’t seem a betting proposition with both Ahorsewithnoname and Natural History at ⅘ and 11/8 respectively.

* The Paul Nicholls-trained Brewers Project will be hoping to record successive victories in the tote.co.uk Novices’ Hurdle (2:20) after winning at Wincanton last month.

Fluent wouldn’t be the word to use when describing this seven-year-old’s jumping, as was illustrated on his previous appearance when jumping left at almost every hurdle. Despite that inconvenience, the gelding kept on well to triumph over his ten rivals, extending his advantage at the line. If clearing the obstacles any easier - and you’d hope he would - then this scopey individual may be tough to beat.

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Nicky Henderson’s remaining two runners for the day come here with Lilly Pedlar and Fantastic Lady vying to overturn the well-fancied Nicholls recruit. The former comes here after trailing the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle hope Boothill by nine lengths, whilst the latter is the pick of Nico De Boinville having finished fourth on debut. James Bowen’s ride is preferred, though, after shaping like this step up in trip will suit.

Selection: BREWERS PROJECT 7/4

The Download The Tote App Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (3:20) is a classic conundrum - should you pin your hopes on the improving recruit or rely on proven form? Well, the latter may be the key to unlocking the winner of this contest with the Fergal O’Brien-trained Crossgalesfamegame.

The seven-year-old has been knocking on the door lately and has been finishing her races very strongly. She jumped fluently and stayed on into third last time out behind two smart mares, and will have conditions to suit today. The step up in trip is a huge plus and she looks poised to strike for the social media savvy trainer.


Sawpit Sienna is undoubtedly the one to beat in the finale of the day (4:20). The addition of new headgear by Samuel Drinkwater has sent this mare to new heights - finding only one rival too good on her previous two starts.

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She put in a gallant effort back in second over a further trip and travelled very strongly into the final three obstacles (going 1.27 in-play). The timing of the performance was very comparable with the 126 rated Sizable Sam, who ran on the same card, which bodes well dropping back in trip today. Indeed, the six-year-old looks bang-on to strike here, but she found little off the bridle, which is an almighty concern dropping back to two miles.

With some bookmakers paying four places each way it seems wise to look for one at a larger price, and there are two which may get in the frame at backable prices.

The Phillip York-trained Magen’s Moon has some impressive course form, succeeding twice from just three occasions, and made an eye catching reappearance last time out. Although ending up eighth, the mare made substantial headway to come from last to first four out, expending energy at a vital time to recoup and settle into a good position. It was therefore no surprise to see her weaken from two out.

The seven-year-old should come on for that performance and with Tabitha Wordsley in the saddle, may be ridden into contention at a more suitable stage in the race.

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A further contender who looks a large price is Page Fuller’s mount Queen Among Kings, who’s taken to the addition of cheek pieces on her last two occasions. When last seen, she led and jumped into contention before ultimately weakening two out. But it was her penultimate start which was a very respectable performance from the front at Leicester when going off at 80/1.

The Irvine-trained mare didn’t clear the obstacles with ease but travelled strongly up to the final hurdle. She was ultimately not suited by the ultra-testing ground that day and could outrun her odds at 33/1.

Selections: MAGEN’S MOON 22/1, QUEEN AMONG KINGS 33/1.

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