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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Johnny Depp no longer cares if people criticise his movie flops
films
Arts and Entertainment
All in a day's work: the players in the forthcoming 'Posh People: Inside Tatler'
TVGrace Dent thinks we should learn to 'hug a Hooray Henry', because poshness is an accident of birth
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
art

Presents unwrapped, turkey gobbled... it's time to relax

Arts and Entertainment
Convicted art fraudster John Myatt
art

News
The two-year-old said she cut off her fringe because it was getting in her eyes
news
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

Opilio Recruitment: UX & Design Specialist

£40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Opilio Recruitment: Publishing Application Support Analyst

£30k - 35k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We’re currently re...

Opilio Recruitment: Digital Marketing Manager

£35k - 45k per year + benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Opilio Recruitment: Sales Manager

£60k - 80k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game