Mon, 06 Apr 2020
SEVEN Barrows trainer Nicky Henderson says that there is plenty of work for his staff to do, despite horseracing being postponed in Britain.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic that has hit the world, the jumps season has been cut short, while the flat season will also be affected.
Henderson has a big team at his Lambourn yard and although there are no meetings to prepare for, he is using the opportunity to do other jobs, while heeding the Government guidelines.
He said: “I have spoken with my team, which is important because we have a big squad and they have all been working their socks off all winter.
“We don’t know where we are or what is going to happen next, but what has happened is that the season has come to an end a month too soon.
“It’s too cold, the grass hasn’t grown and we can’t turn the horses out,” he said. “We have a whole load of horses that can’t go out in the field or race either.
“At the end of every season the whole place gets steam-cleaned and painted, so there is plenty to do.”
Some of Henderson’s string will head home for the summer, but there will still be horses at Seven Barrows that need attending to.
He said: “If the horses have got their own home then they will go there, but there are a lot that have to be ridden every day so we have a full team.
“We’re obviously mindful of anybody that doesn’t feel right and we’re being very stringent with the rules and regulations.”
Despite there being no racing, Henderson’s staff still have tasks to be completed and he has reassured them about this.
He said: “Some of our overseas staff can’t go home and that is hard luck – I can’t do anything about that, but we’ll look after them.
“I have more staff than I would normally need, but we’re not laying off anybody as we can find plenty of things to do that I have wanted to do for years.
“We have no idea at all when racing will resume and it’s the flat racing that really needs to get going.”
It’s been another strong season for the Seven Barrows team and Henderson is gutted the season has been cut short, but understands the whole world is affected by Covid-19.
He said: “We spent the whole winter making sure that the horses are healthy and now we’re spending the summer making sure the staff are healthy.
“They have been brilliant all winter. It’s a shame it has ended this way, but everybody is in the same boat.
“We’re no different to any other stable and any other stable is no different to any other business.
“We have been lucky to live in a generation that didn’t know about war, so we have never faced something like this.
“We’re going to keep going, we have fantastic horses and a fantastic team so we have lots to look forward to.”
Henderson had four winners in total at the Cheltenham Festival and it appears he will be crowned champion trainer once again.
“When you win the first race at Cheltenham, you want another one,” he said. “The sad thing is that Altior didn’t make it.
“You can’t help but think that he would have won another Champion Chase with the way it panned out, but he’ll be back and so will Buveur D’Air – so the Champion Hurdle team will look quite strong because Epatante managed to fill in his place.”
With the postponement of racing, it also meant the 2020 Grand National didn't go ahead and Henderson felt he had a strong chance of success for the very first time.
He said: “The only sadness is losing the Grand National because we have never won one and we had three genuine contenders this year.
“If ever I felt we had a chance, then this was the year and unfortunately we won’t get one because I had the squad ready.”