Champion trainer Nicky Henderson strikes with big-race double

 

For champion trainer Nicky Henderson, the season started in earnest yesterday as the rather dull, by his standards, opening to the defence of his title came to a decisive end with a sparkling big-race double. My Tent Or Yours presented satisfactory Champion Hurdle credentials in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle, and less than an hour later Triolo D'Alene took the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury. And there is the Seven Barrows superstar Sprinter Sacre to look forward to at Sandown on Saturday.

Triolo D'Alene, a 20-1 shot, gave Henderson and rider Barry Geraghty back-to-back Hennessy victories after Bobs Worth, the subsequent winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Yesterday's hero has the Grand National as his prime target; he has already won over the unique fences, in the Topham Trophy in April, and after his determined defeat of Rocky Creek is the early favourite at around 16-1 to give his trainer a first success in the Aintree showpiece.

That Geraghty was in Triolo D'Alene's saddle yesterday was a matter of luck rather than judgement. The Irishman tossed a coin to decide between the six-year-old and his better-fancied stablemate Hadrian's Approach, who unseated Nico de Boinville at the fifth obstacle.

Triolo D'Alene himself blundered at the final obstacle, causing his rider to sit tight as he ploughed flatly through the top. But by then he was in full flow – he had travelled easily throughout the extended three-and-a-quarter miles to lead before the penultimate obstacle – and after regaining his balance found reserves enough to rally past Rocky Creek. "He has such a great attitude," said Geraghty.

The French-bred chestnut, owned by Sandy and Caroline Orr, came in two-and-three-quarter lengths clear of Rocky Creek, with 33-1 shot Theatre Guide third, ahead of the trailblazing Highland Lodge (6-1). "He has always worked like a good horse," said Henderson. "After he won the Topham Barry begged me to put him away for the National and hold his mark. But I think we can safely say we've messed that up."

My Tent Or Yours is now favourite in some lists for the Champion Hurdle after his comfortable defeat of Cockney Sparrow in the day's Grade One feature. It was a slick display from the six-year-old on his first senior outing, but his rider, Tony McCoy, poured scorn on the bookmakers' reaction. "He's won easy," he said, "but you'd have wanted him to, really.

"It was a good starting point but he was by far the best on paper going in, and for the life of me I can't understand bookmakers cutting him for the Champion Hurdle. Hurricane Fly has won 17 Grade Ones and is still the one to beat."

My Tent Or Yours will have his next test in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton. Ireland's top Champion Hurdle contenders – minus Hurricane Fly – will step up to the plate this afternoon at Fairyhouse, where Jezki heads five runners for the Hatton's Grace Hurdle.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Vehicle Broker / Purchaser

£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £45,000

£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...

Recruitment Genius: Call Centre Manager - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This innovative online car purc...

Recruitment Genius: Subscriptions and Marketing Assistant

£12500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A subscriptions and marketing a...

Day In a Page

Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate