Nicky Henderson: hoping cold weather will kill off the bugs

Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)

Champion trainer Nicky Henderson is keeping a close watch on the wellbeing of his string after deciding not to run Brain Power, Angels Breath and Valtor at Haydock on Saturday due to concerns about their health.

Henderson had planned to run the three in the Unibet New One Hurdle, Sky Bet Rossington Main Novices’ Hurdle and Peter Marsh Chase respectively, but changed his mind after tests showed them to be under the weather.

He said: “We have to keep an eye on these things and Valtor’s blood picture came back this morning and it wasn’t 100 per cent, so he’s a non-runner in the Peter Marsh Chase.

“Angels Breath’s was a per cent off too so we’re switching his programme with Mister Fisher, who runs at Haydock instead, and it’s the same with Brain Power.

“If these horses are not right then they are not right and you can’t risk them. We’ve had to think long and hard about things this morning and we’re not going to run horses that aren’t at the top of their game.

There are no such worries surrounding Henderson’s superstar chaser Altior as he bids to extend his unbeaten run to 17 in the Grade 1 Matchbook Clarence House Chase at Ascot on Saturday.

Angels Breath (right): misses Haydock with Mister Fisher running instead

Mark Cranham

Henderson pointed to the mild winter as the main contributor to the issues, although the colder weather enveloping Britain in the past few days is likely to be helpful in killing off the causes of the problems.

Unfortunately it’s a case of there being a bit of this sort of thing around and we cannot afford to be taking a chance with horses we know are not 100 per cent right in themselves,” he added.

“The weather has been particularly unhelpful to us really. It’s been so mild through the winter there are bugs and bits and pieces that are around and the horses are susceptible to them.” 

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