Horse & Hound
Billy Aprahamian, assistant trainer to Nicky Henderson
“IT has to be our dual Champion Chase victor Altior. He didn’t have a great season last year, which included him having wind surgery, but that’s just horses and racing for you. He has a phenomenal record and won 19 consecutive races – for a horse to achieve that kind of form is unparalleled. He’s 10 now, but he’s certainly still the horse he was and looks great at home. He’s a machine.
“I should also mention six-year-old mare Epatante, who won the Champion Hurdle at the 2020 Festival – she has won seven of her nine runs to date.”
MOST EXCITING NEWCOMER
“FLINTEUR SACRE is a five-year-old full brother to Nicky’s former stable star Sprinter Sacre. He won his second bumper – and second-ever race – very well in February. He’s a smart type and has been schooling nicely at home.
“We’ve had three brothers to Sprinter Sacre at Seven Barrows so far and they have all looked very similar to their superstar brother – big, tall and handsome. They have all had big boots to fill of course, but if Flinteur Sacre can fill just one of those four boots, he’d be doing well.”
THE BIGGEST CHARACTER
“I AM torn between three horses at Seven Barrows; The Cashel Man, Janika and Santini. You know when all three are about because there is plenty of bucking and squealing – they like to make their presence known.
“Janika, in particular, always has a squeal when trotting past the boss in our indoor warm-up ring. I ride Santini each morning and whenever he has done a good piece of work, he likes to tell people about it, as there will be some legs flying about. He is always showing off and loves an audience.”
“IT is brilliant to have the 2017 and 2018 Champion Hurdle winner Buveur D’Air [pictured] back at Seven Barrows, having recovered from injury. During the Fighting Fifth Hurdle in November 2019 – in which he finished second – he splintered his coronary band at the second-last hurdle. He spent time at Donnington Grove Equine Vets and they did a superb job with him. He then went back to his owner JP McManus’ Martinstown Stud in Ireland to recover. He has just returned to training and is the same old professional as before.”