Tue, 02 May 2017
Champion over jumps - Nicky Henderson
NICKY Henderson claimed his fourth champion jumps trainer title when Altior’s victory in Saturday’s bet365 celebration Chase at Sandown sealed victory over closest rival Paul Nicholls in the table.
The two had been vying for top spot all season but Henderson went in to the decisive day in the championship with an edge, and odds-on favourite Altior’s win under jockey Nico de Boinville made sure of the crown.
“What a great horse to do it with,” said Henderson.
“We’ve been consistent over the last few years and we've been second to Paul four or five times.
"When you enter a competition, you want to win races and if that means you're going to finish at the top of the pile, so be it.
"It is a championship and it's there to be fought for. There are no prizes for finishing second."
Henderson last claimed the title in the 2012-3 campaign after earlier wins in 1986 and 1987, and it set the seal on a season that had seemed to be running off the rails when Sprinter Sacre’s career was ended and Simonsig died on course at Cheltenham.
But Altior led a new breed that included Buveur D'Air and Might Bite, and the comeback was completed on Saturday.
“We took a bitter pill when Sprinter had to retire and Simonsig got killed, which was horrible.
“But we always knew Altior was a very good horse, Might Bite is and exciting and we've also got Top Notch and Whisper, all good old soldiers."