Attended Owners Group stable visit to 7 Barrows this morning. Able to see the 6 horses that Nicky Henderson has in training. They'd only arrived back in the yard on Friday (apart from Ile de Jersey that is racing) and he was keen to see them as he'd been away the past few days. Said they all needed at least 8-10 weeks to get race fit, and was interesting to hear his approach, walking in deep sand for a fortnight, light cantering on the all weather and then when fit enough, to head to the gallops with his other horses. Pentland Hills looked well and interesting that his flat hcp is 75 compared to 140 for the jumps.
Nicky spent time discussing each horse as they walked around the new sand track, a lovely secluded spot. After they'd left, he mentioned he had a few other horses to show, and out came Jonbon, Shiskin and Constitution Hill! They all looked well as they were walked around the ring and Nicky discussed options for them. Fantastic to see them so close up. Constitution Hill came into the centre ring to munch some grass, completely unphased by the crowd surrounding him. Nicky noted his mentality and temperament are what set him apart as a champion. What was surprising was how small he was. Nicky noted that he was reluctant to purchase him since he was simply skin and bone when he joined the yard. They didn't give him much hope and it was only when he was on the gallops that he started to show his talent.
Nicky mentioned that a decision on whether Constitution Hill will stay hurdling or go chasing will be made week after next (he's being hounded by the press for an answer). He noted that it all depends on whether they think he can stay 3 miles 2 furlongs for the Gold Cup. If not, then he'll stay hurdling.
Shiskin is being targetted for the King George. Interestingly, Nicky sent him to dressage school for 3 weeks to get him fit. He noted that Kempton, despite being flat, requires a great deal of stamina since they go flat out all the way (no breathing space).
Jonbon will stay at 2 miles and target the Arkle - Nicky has unfinished business with El Fabiolo and thinks Jonbon is a better horse.
All in all, a brilliant morning (and timed to avoid the rain showers!) Really enjoy the way Owners Group engage and communicate with ordinary folk, and today was a memorable day!