Sunday 1 April 2018

Cheltenham Festival 2012: Henderson Breaks Records

Trainer Nicky Henderson started the week with 39 Cheltenham Festival winners, just one behind the late Fulke Walwyn but, by Friday evening, was far and away the most successful trainer in the history of the meeting. Henderson saddled seven winners, two more than the previous record held by Paul Nicholls, including an unprecedented four on the second day, to finish the week with a career total of 46 Festival wins. Perhaps the most poignant of the seven was Bellvano, who beat stable companion Tanks For That by 2¼ lengths in the closing Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase to give the Lambourn trainer a 1-2 in the race named in honour of his late father.

Interestingly, Henderson Jnr. saddled the winner of just one ‘championship’ race, Finian’s Rainbow in the Queen Mother Champion Chase, but victories for Sprinter Sacre in the Racing Post Arkle Chase, Simonsig in the NIM Novices’ Hurdle, Bobs Worth in the RSA Chase and Riverside Theatre in the Ryanair Chase were sufficient to make Barry Geraghty the leading jockey at the Festival for the second time in his career with five winners.

Not even Henderson could stop Quevega or Big Buck’s completing hat-tricks in the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle and Ladbrokes World Hurdle, respectively. Other notable winners included Rock On Ruby in the Stan James Champion Hurdle, Champagne Fever in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper and Synchronised in the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup.

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