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Relief as star names come up with the goods at Aintree





NICKY Henderson breathed a sigh of relief after his star names came up with the goods at Aintree.

It’s been a tough time for the Seven Barrows trainer after health fears over several top horses forced them to withdraw from the Cheltenham Festival last month.

So it was a huge weight off everyone’s shoulders when Jonbon won the feature Melling Chase on Friday to go with Sir Gino’s impressive

victory in the Boodles Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle on Thursday.

Sir Gino claimed his first Grade One comfortably as the 11-10 favourite after a good jump at the last.

Henderson said: “It was good to see that they had their mojo back.

“We knew how important Thursday was going to be because we did not know how they would run – if it had not worked out then we might not have had them back this year – but they all ran well.”

Henderson said that patience was the key after the Cheltenham nightmare, ensuring that all the horses were fully ready to go again.

He said: “The temptation is always to go too soon, but that almost always ends in disaster or tears. You just have to count to 10.”

Henderson was delighted with the performances of Sir Gino and Jonbon.

He said: “Sir Gino is a bit special, but Jonbon was the crucial one because that is where he belongs.

“He is a bit more of an old friend, while Sir Gino is the young buck knocking on the door.”

Henderson was also delighted with Shishkin’s run as he finished fourth in the William Hill Bowl Chase.

And Shishkin looks set to run in the Ladbrokes Punchestown Gold Cup on May 1.

Meanwhile, Henderson revealed that another of his stars, Constitution Hill, was well on the road to recovery.

Constitution Hill was forced to miss the chance to defend his Champion Hurdle title at Cheltenham after what transpired to be a bout of colic.

Henderson said: “He’s fine and ready to go on his holidays. He has had a difficult time and had to spend five days in hospital, but he didn’t need surgery and that’s the important thing.”

There’s still plenty of work to be done at Seven Barrows as the jumps season comes to an end.

Henderson has runners at Cheltenham and Ayr this week, then next week it’s off to Sandown before making the trip to Punchestown.

n The first Flat meeting of the season – the Dubai Duty Free Spring Trials – will take place at Newbury Racecourse tomorrow and Saturday.

The meeting features the Group 3 Watership Down Too Darn Hot Greenham Stakes, as well as the Dubai Duty Free Finest Surprise Stakes (The John Porter Stakes) and the Dubai Duty Free Stakes (The Fred Darling Stakes).

Tickets are available via newburyracecourse.co.uk while all under 18s go free.



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