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Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Can anyone challenge the hot Henderson trio? Find out here

Nicky Henderson: trains the top three in the betting for the Sefton Novices' Hurdle
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4.40 Aintree
Doom Bar Sefton Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1) | 3m½f | 4yo+ | ITV/RUK

Does the market have the right favourite?

Nicky Henderson appears to hold all the aces in this Grade 1 contest with Santini, Ok Corral and Chef Des Obeaux occupying the top three positions in the market.

Successful with Beat That four years ago, Henderson saddles the Albert Bartlett second and third, although it is Nico de Boinville's mount Santini, a length and a half behind Ok Corral in that race, in which Chef Des Obeaux was pulled up before the final flight, who heads the market.

The placed horses stayed on well from out of the pack to chase home Kilbricken Storm at Cheltenham, but their market positions for this edition even surprises the Seven Barrows maestro.

Punters have latched on to Santini (pictured)

Henderson said: “They all went to Cheltenham and this is the obvious next step.

“It would have to be a surprise that Santini is ahead of Ok Corral in the betting considering where they finished at Cheltenham, while on official ratings Chef Des Obeaux should be right in the mix if bouncing back to form.”

Can Roksana rise to the challenge?

Dan Skelton’s Roksana aims to become the third mare to land this novice contest – a feat achieved by Asian Maze in 2005 and Boreen Belle in the second running in 1989.

Roksana is firmly on the upgrade, winning novice hurdles at Plumpton and Fontwell before landing the Grade 2 EBF and TBA Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle Finale at Newbury last month.

Roksana (right) impressed against her own sex at Newbury last time

The daughter of Dubai Destination appears a likely main danger to the market leading Henderson trio.

What they say

Tom George, trainer of Another Stowaway
On official ratings he has a lot to find, but he did run very well at Aintree earlier on this season.

Alan King, trainer of Good Man Pat
Good Man Pat could be an interesting runner. He's won his last two races and looks worth a crack at a Grade 1 – he travels very well through a race.

Nigel Twiston-Davies, trainer of Count Meribel
He has improved a lot since Ascot, where he wasn't quite right afterwards. I'm looking forward to running him – he's got definite each-way claims.

Charlie Longsdon, trainer of Louse Talk
On ratings he has loads to find and it’s a big step up in class, but I think he’ll at the very least outrun his official mark. He’s improving all the time and lightly raced, although we’ll know a lot more about him after this.

Poetic Rhythm: won the Betfred Challow Novices' Hurdle at Newbury in December
Fergal O’Brien, trainer of Poetic Rhythm
He was very disappointing at Cheltenham and we don’t know what happened. He’s a winner at the highest level so we’re hoping he bounces back to form here.

Will Kennedy, rider of Sam’s Gunner
He was well handicapped on the day at Sandown and this is a step up in grade. He’s had a little break since and everyone is really happy with him, so he should run a good race.

Joseph O'Brien, trainer of Tower Bridge
He ran well when fifth in the Albert Bartlett and we've been happy with him since. I think the track will suit him and he has a good chance of being in the money.

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It would have to be a surprise that Santini is ahead of Ok Corral in the betting considering what happened at Cheltenham
E.W. Terms
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