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    Henderson pessimistic about British chances of National triumph
Henderson pessimistic about British chances of National triumph
Nicky Henderson by Liam Headd

Henderson pessimistic about British chances of National triumph

Leading British trainer expects Irish domination at Aintree. 

Renowned British trainer Nicky Henderson foresees a daunting challenge ahead for British handlers in the upcoming Randox Grand National at Aintree this April. Presently, only seven horses from the home team are guaranteed to secure a spot in the prestigious Aintree showpiece.

The victory of Lucinda Russell's Corach Rambler last year marked the first win for UK-based trainers since Kinross handler One For Arthur triumphed in 2017. With Irish contenders currently dominating both the recent accolades and the ante-post betting for this season, it appears highly probable that the coveted trophy might once again journey across to the Emerald Isle.

Although Henderson has three entries lined up for this year's race, only the 150-rated Dusart is on track to secure a spot in the final line-up. The remaining Seven Barrows contenders, Fantastic Lady and last year's eighth-placed Mister Coffey, face uncertain prospects. Henderson indicated a possibility of not being represented in this year's race and candidly expressed his thoughts on the home team's chances.

"We're not likely to secure a win, especially since I don't have a horse in the running,"

Henderson remarked.

"I've been striving to clinch the title for 42 years, so I can certainly offer insights on what may not lead to victory."

Prominent Irish trainers Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott currently hold sway over more than half of the top 40 contenders in the National. Despite this dominance, Henderson opposes the idea of limiting the number of runners each trainer or owner can field in the race, a proposal that the British Horseracing Authority had been contemplating for major handicaps earlier in the season.

"That notion was absurd,"

he retorted.

"I wouldn't endorse such limitations unless, of course, the rule was tailored to restrict Henderson from fielding a runner!"

As Henderson meticulously prepares his Seven Barrows string for the upcoming Cheltenham Festival, he acknowledges the privilege of possessing a talented roster of horses along with a dedicated network of supportive owners.

"We've been exceptionally fortunate, boasting a fantastic group of owners,"

Henderson acknowledged.

"They are not just owners but genuine friends who share a passion for the sport. Our focus is on relishing the moment, as this is more than just a pastime—it's about providing entertainment and enjoyment for all involved."

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