Having trained over 2000 winners, including being the first to train 50 winners at the Cheltenham National Hunt Festival, Nicky Henderson, the three times champion trainer, needs no introduction to those who are keen National Hunt racing enthusiasts.
Born in 1950, Henderson was expected to follow in his father’s footsteps and pursue a career in the City. His father, a stockbroker, was also a director of Barclays Bank and a member of the Jockey Club, but it was more his father’s horse racing passion that Henderson inherited than the office life.
No currently active trainer has won more races at the Cheltenham Festival than Henderson
Henderson started training in 1978 having been assistant to the illustrious Fred Winter and in that time, at Cheltenham alone, has won 5 Champion Hurdles, 2 Queen Mother Champion Chases and 1 Gold Cup. He has also won many other major races including the Whitbread Gold Cup, 4 Tote Gold Trophies at Newbury, the King George and the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury.
In 1992 he moved to Seven Barrows with its private gallops which have produced so many historic winners in the past. He now trains over 150 horses at his Lambourn base and the stable goes from strength to strength, the highlight being 7 Cheltenham Festival winners in 2012. There is now no current trainer with more Festival wins to their name.
His first Grand National outing as trainer was in 1979 with Zongalero, which turned out to be the best he has done so far in the race, as the horse came runner-up by just one and a half lengths to Rubustic.
More than thirty years of endeavouring to better that Grand National second place may have been fruitless, but in that time, since 1980, Henderson has had 35 runners in the Grand National a tally which includes Long Run, Triolo D'Alene and Hunt Ball who all ran in 2014.
In the last five seasons, Henderson has trained more than 590 winners earning over £5.4 million in prize money and with Barry Geraghty his stable jockey since 2009, there is no doubt that his winning ways will continue.