First Cheltenham success for My Tent Or Yours
Nicky Henderson and JP McManus heralded a “special day” after four-time Cheltenham Festival runner-up My Tent Or Yours finally gained a first victory at the home of jump racing with victory in a compelling Unibet International Hurdle.
It is long odds-on that, days away from turning 11, the veteran will never taste glory at the biggest meeting of the year but this thrilling triumph after three horses had been in contention at the final flight gave his connections a huge amount of pleasure.
My Tent Or Yours will run in a fourth Champion Hurdle, for which he is 33-1, having been runner-up in the three he has contested behind Jezki, Annie Power and Buveur D’Air. He was also runner-up to Champagne Fever in the 2013 Supreme Novices Hurdle.
He was getting his head in front over jumps for the first time since the Christmas Hurdle four years ago.
Henderson said: “We had the 6lb advantage because we haven’t run a race for donkeys years – it’s as simple as that.
“We’ve had him since he was a three-year-old and when you live with them for seven years you become quite attached to them. It’s a special day; emotional – you know me.
“Why that meant so much is because when Buveur D’Air beat him here in the Champion Hurdle last year I felt like a complete fiend. Beating your own horse that had been second twice that felt awful. Me and JP (McManus, owner) both went to ‘Tent’ after the Champion Hurdle only to say, ‘Well done mate’.”
McManus added: “Full marks to Nicky and the team. Nicky never lost faith in My Tent Or Yours – he always believed in him. Even as a 10-year-old, he said that the old spark was still there and he wouldn’t be surprised if he won today.”
On future plans, Henderson said: “We are not retiring I’m sure. We’ve got to map it out and find somewhere to go.
“What we do now I’ve no idea. I’m sure he will run in the Champion Hurdle as he has to. He is no spring chicken – a bit like me – and joints and things are quite creaky.”