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Thursday 21st September 2017
Who can Challenge Henderson for Champion Trainer's Title?

With the Flat season heading towards a close and the final Classic of the season already run in the shape of the St Leger at Doncaster, now may be a good time to look forward to the new National Hunt season and the return to action of some old friends. The build up begins to the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day, the Cheltenham Festival in March, and the Grand National meeting from Aintree in April to name but three.

Although they all claim it doesn’t really matter, there isn’t a handler alive who wouldn’t want to be crowned Champion Trainer at the end of the season, an honour has gone to Paul Nicholls or Nicky Henderson in each of the last twelve years (since David Pipe monopolised from 1995/6 through to 2005/5). Nicholls has hinted that he may not go flat out this season, however that's hard to believe (they are all fiercely competitive), so who can challenge him this season, and why? Check out the best free bets available at

Nicky Henderson

Nicky Henderson

The winner last season and with a yard packed full of top class talent the title really does look his to lose again this year. His list of top class horses is pretty much endless and injury can obviously play its part, but with the likes of unbeaten Arkle winner Altior, RSA Chase winner Might Bite, Champion Hurdle winner Buveur D’Air, and promising bumper winner Daphne Du Clos to name but four, he seems sure to be competing at the highest level throughout and thoroughly deserves his place at the head of the market.

Paul Nicholls

Been there done that could be the stable motto with so many top-class horses over the years but he does seem a little light on top class ammunition this season and may well struggle to get involved.

However, what he lacks in quality he may well make up for in quantity. Saphir Du Rheu ought to be back competing at the highest level but looks likely to come up short in the bigger more valuable contests, while the likes of Art Mauresque, Le Mercurey, and Ptit Zig will win races between them and cannot be written off, but ought to struggle at the likes of Cheltenham. The stable do have powerful owners with deep pockets so there could well be new charges under the Ditcheat banner soon, but as things stand they look to have a lot to do if they want to wrestle the title back from the Henderson stable.

Colin Tizzard

A late bloomer in training terms but now with one of the most powerful stables, albeit based on a few absolutely top class animals that will need to be kept sound for him to have any chance. Knowing Colin, he would love to be able to challenge this year or next and he does have the animals in his stables to put in a serious challenge. His top talent reads like a Who’s Who of the jumping scene with a back from injury Thistlecrack expected to lead the way with the Cheltenham Gold Cup his main objective.

Add Native River, Cue Card, Fox Norton, and the highly promising novice chaser Finian’s Oscar as well as a long list of decent handicappers, and he could well prove to be the biggest challenger to the Henderson domination.

When all is taken in to account it seems most likely that the Trainer’s Championship will not be leaving Seven Barrows any time soon.

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