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Monday, 21 January, 2019

Sprinter still special and ready for a supermarket sweep

Nicky Henderson, Sprinter Sacre and his groom Sarwar enjoying Lambourn Open Day
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There's a new Albert Einstein series about to hit our TV screens but you don't need to be a genius to work out who might be the most popular attraction at the Lambourn Open day.

He didn't come back from the brink, as Corky Browne, Nicky Henderson's long-standing head land said, for nothing.

Sprinter Sacre, a two-time champion chase winner, might not have raced since Sandown last year, but there's no question who is the biggest draw as Henderson's Seven Barrows yard fling its open its doors for the annual opening.

Henderson might not relish the selfie sticks, but if any trainer is at tune to turning on the charm as the soon-to-be-champion it is him.

"He might open a supermarket one day," says the master of Seven Barrows, whose yard took a record taking of more than £32,000.

"Let's hope we'll still have the horses next year so they come again," adds the trainer, whose stable is akin to Millionaire's Row for many.

The next generation enjoying meeting the horses at Warren Greatrex's stable

"Sprinter loves it and it's great for the public to see what we do. They're very kind and so knowledgeable about the horses. It's nice to see so many people and I think they like to see what we do."

David Richards, in his Scarlets hoodie, has come from Llanelli and is in awe of the stars.

He says: "I've been for the last three years and we always go to Henderson's first. Then Charlie Hills's, Harry Dunlop's, Stan Moore's. Warren Greatrex's – we've been everywhere and even went to Mick Channon's last night."

Richards, accompanied by his son Dylan, has taken more than 300 pictures on his table – "I'll need to do some editing tonight" – but an absent friend is missing.

"Two years ago I came to see Many Clouds and it was before he won the National, and he bit my shoulder," adds Richards. "Of course the next year we couldn't get near him. And this year's he's not there, but he was a brilliant horse."

That might be an understatement. Many Clouds, who died after dethroning Thistlecrack in Cheltenham's Cotswold Chase, meant the world to Oliver Sherwood and his yard, most notably Chris 'CJ' Jerdin, the groom of the 2015 Grand National hero.

"It's been a bit raw for me, but you should see the letters we've had – it's been thousands," he says as Richard Hoiles's National commentary plays on repeat in a special area set up by Sherwood's wife Tarnya.

Tom Garner, Sherwood's conditional, was among those not to mind the extra-early start before the day.

"I left my house at 5.30am and normally it's 7.10am," he explained. "Every horse was ridden before this and it was a quick few lots, but it's lovely to see so many people in the yard.

"Everyone did such a good job making it look so nice and it's great for the public to see such a historic yard.

"I've never seen Oliver so stressed as he was this week – it means so much to him. He loves to see people have a good time and does so much to see it happen."

Sherwood might not have been so chuffed to see his ex-stable jockey Jamie Osborne ride bare-chested in the mounted games – "I think I'm only the paler person than him," says Garner – but Henderson isn't convinced a ban needs to be applied for next year.

Sir Anthony McCoy, who has taken part in the showjumping and mounted games along with John Francome, Noel Fehily, Gavin Sheehan, Leighton Aspell and Osborne, disagrees.

"What an ugly sight Osborne was," he jokes.

Luckily for those at Seven Barrows, Sprinter Sacre was the picture he usually is.

Sprinter loves it and it's great for the public to see what we do. They're very kind and so knowledgable about the horses
E.W. Terms
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