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Monday, 21 January, 2019

Harvey joins Queen and McManus on Henderson's team of owners

Jockey-turned-broadcaster Luke Harvey waits for the lowdown from Marc Goldstein
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Nicky Henderson has trained for some of the biggest owners in the sport, from billionaire businessmen and royalty to television personalities and sportsmen. But there is a new set of silks in the Seven Barrows tack room that belong to jockey-turned-broadcaster Luke Harvey, whose Drumlynn is set to make his debut under rules in Worcester's bumper on Saturday.

Harvey, whose finest hour as a rider came when Cool Ground won the Welsh Grand National in 1990, has had success in the point-to-point sphere saddling Porlock Bay to win five times, but reckons Drumlynn has improved during his spell under the champion trainer's supervision.

Drumlynn: Nicky Henderson's new recruit in his box at Seven Barrows

Now a big part of At The Races and ITV's coverage, Harvey partners the six-year-old at home and is keen for Saturday to go smoother than his only ride for Henderson.

He said: "I decked River Ceiriog at the last in the Welsh Champion Hurdle at Chepstow, so let's hope things go better than that. I'm not saying he'll win, but he won't be disgraced.

"It's an honour to have a horse with the champion trainer. I was surprised when I asked if he'd mind running in his name and he said he didn't."

Harvey, who will be at Worcester on Saturday rather than broadcasting the Investec Derby from Epsom, added: "Nicky very kindly lets me park my horsebox in his car park during the point-to-point season so when I had one good enough to run under rules it'd only be right and proper to have one with him and I can't believe he let me.

"I never ever dreamed I'd have a horse good enough to be trained by Nicky Henderson and I probably still haven't!"

Drumlynn, a son of Definite Article, was placed in three Irish point-to-points last year and recalling how he got his hands on him, Harvey said: "I went to Ascot sales a year ago on the way to the Lingfield for At The Races and I've never ever paid more than £5,000 for a horse, but thought I want to get a nice one, so would go to £10,000.

"That was the reserve on him and because I didn't have any confidence in myself looking at horses I got Neil Mulholland to look at him and Neil said he was a proper horse and if I didn't want him he'd have him.

"Neil bought him for £12,500 and then, because Neil is such a nice man, said to me, 'You're an idiot. You're earning good money, why don't you buy him? Just pay for him - I don't want anything out of it'.

"So I got him and he's not at Neil's because he's an hour and a half away and I can ride him out at Nicky's. It's down to Neil I've got the horse and what Nicky doesn't realise is I'm charging £25 a lot to ride out!

"But it's been a brilliant learning curve seeing what they do there. Although I thought I was doing the right thing by doing different things with my horses to keep them happy, he's got into the Seven Barrows routine and I've never known a horse happier. I hadn't realised what it required to be a champion trainer and now I know, and my horse is improving for what he's doing.

"I was in the string one day and Nicky asked what I wanted to do, so I said, 'You're the champion trainer - you tell me!'

"I worked him a couple of times with Nicky's horses and he went well, and as we walked back I said, 'This won't half win an English point-to-point' and he said, 'You're probably right, but the one he worked with won't!'"

Henderson, crowned champion trainer for the fourth time last season when he won a record-breaking sixth Champion Hurdle, said: "Drumlynn goes nicely and is ready to go. I've known Luke for 100 years and he rides out when he can and is very enthusiastic, just like the horse."

I never ever dreamed I'd have a horse good enough to be trained by Nicky Henderson and I probably still haven't!
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