Birchdale tops four Tolworth contenders for Nicky Henderson

Sandown Grade One has drawn 16 entries

  • Tuesday 01 January
  • News
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Nicky Henderson is responsible for four of the 16 entries for the Unibet Tolworth Novices’ Hurdle at Sandown on Saturday.

The Seven Barrows maestro has saddled five previous winners of the Grade One contest including four in the last eight years.

Henderson already has a vice-like grip on the novice hurdling division in Britain this season and looks primed to strengthen his hand this weekend.

His potential Tolworth team is headed by Birchdale, who was a dominant winner on his hurdling debut at Warwick.

The five-year-old is one of three Henderson-trained entries for leading owner JP McManus along with the exciting mare Epatante and Rathhill, while Lust For Glory completes the trainer’s quartet.

The standard is set by Colin Tizzard’s Elixir De Nutz, who registered successive wins at Cheltenham in November and December.

Tizzard said: “He is twice a winner at Cheltenham and he is one of the best ones we’ve had for a while.

“I will talk to the owner first, but he is working lovely and this seems the logical place to step him up.

“It will be interesting to see where he is in the betting.”

Southfield Stone could step up in class for the in-form Paul Nicholls after completing a Taunton hat-trick. The Ditcheat handler has also entered Grand Sancy.

Other contenders include the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained pair of Muratello and Torpillo and Ben Pauling’s Bright Forecast.

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