Nicky Henderson expecting tough test for My Tent Or Yours
Last Updated: 25/02/14 6:55pm
My Tent Or Yours with Nicky Henderson on Tuesday
Nicky Henderson believes the strength of this year's Stan James Champion Hurdle is so great My Tent Or Yours could perform to his peak and still finish out of the places.
Unbeaten in two senior starts, the Fighting Fifth and Christmas Hurdle, JP McManus' classy gelding avoided any of the soft ground trials and took an unconventional route to the Festival by winning a jumpers' bumper at Kempton a week last Sunday.
McManus' retained jockey Tony McCoy has now nailed his colours to My Tent Or Yours, rather than the owners other challenger, Jezki.
"I'm very happy with him, and Kempton was a job perfectly executed," said Henderson.
"AP will come and school him on Thursday, but he won't do anything else."
Looking at the Champion, for which he is 4-1 third-favourite with William Hill behind The New One and dual winner Hurricane Fly, the trainer said: "You could finish fifth and run the race of your life.
"There's The New One and don't underestimate Melodic Rendezvous. Then there's obviously Ireland. I've a sneaking feeling about Our Conor, especially the way he won the Triumph last year, and then there's Willie Mullins.
"You've got to start with Hurricane Fly, but it depends what he runs - he could run Annie Power as well."
Should My Tent Or Yours prevail, he is likely to stay hurdling, but Henderson warned: "If he doesn't win, then I think we're running for next year's Arkle."
With a few stars now unavailable for selection, the performances of My Tent Or Yours and Bobs Worth in the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup suddenly become more important if Henderson is to narrow Paul Nicholls' advantage in the trainers' championship and retain his title.
"We haven't got Sprinter Sacre or Simonsig and we're not running Long Run, but we've still got some very good horses," he said.
"You want everything you've got. If you're running the A-team it's going to be an exciting week but that's not important. As long as we can find something to brighten it up.
"Paul will be strong and Willie's so strong, it's going to be very tough but we've got plenty of horses that have got good chances.
"It's good that two of our best chances are in two of the biggest races, the Champion Hurdle and Gold Cup. We've still got a chance in the Champion Chase as well."