Apple's Shakira delights Nicky Henderson in Kempton spin

Tue 27 Feb 2018

Triumph Hurdle favourite Apple's Shakira was among a host of horses Nicky Henderson sent for a gallop at Kempton in preparation for the Cheltenham Festival.

2017 November Meeting - Day Two - Cheltenham Racecourse Apple's Shakira has a flawless record at Cheltenham (PA)

She completed a piece of work with Albert Bartlett hope Santini and Stayers' Hurdle possible Thomas Campbell.

Others at the track included L'Ami Serge, Festival veteran My Tent Or Yours and Arkle challenger Brain Power.

Jockeys Nico de Boinville, Jerry McGrath, Daryl Jacob and Sean Bowen were in attendance.

"The boys were all pleased and it looked very good to me," said Henderson.

"It is an away day more than anything else. Some need gallops more than others needed the gallops. It does put an edge on them.

"I purposely did those three (Might Bite, Buveur D'Air and Theinval) on Saturday as I wanted them to come into a raceday environment as that does get them sparked up a bit.

"They've got some more work to do but that is the serious bits out of the way. Nothing did anything wrong, that was the good thing. Nothing dropped out or fell out the back and they finished as I expected to."

Apple's Shakira is not a great work horse but appeared to show a bit more at Kempton.

Henderson said: "Apple's Shakira was great. She is very laid-back at home.

"It was just nice to see her come to the racecourse, switch on and do that. She doesn't do much of that at home.

"She has got a great temperament and she has enjoyed herself."

In the other camp is Brain Power, who sometimes has the unenviable task of keeping tabs on Altior at home. He came out on top over Burbank and Days Of Heaven.

Christmas Racing Weekend - Day Two - Ascot Racecourse Brain Power has had a disappointing season but Henderson retains utmost faith in him (PA)

"As I've always said, Brain Power is a very good horse and he could do that to anything," said the Seven Barrows handler.

"He looked very good doing that and I would have expected him to.

"Burbank has been working very well and with them was Days Of Heaven, who went very well. He comes into the two-and-a-half-mile handicap (Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase) and Burbank will go for the Coral Cup.

"L'Ami Serge is very good. He runs like a two-miler all the time but he proved he stays three miles in France. He is a very pacey horse.

"Tent was good. He just needed it and had a good blow. He has got another bit of work to do. He did need a gallop."

With Yorkhill now seemingly set to take on Buveur D'Air in the Champion Hurdle and Douvan creeping ever nearer towards a clash with Altior in the Queen Mother, two of Henderson's Cheltenham bankers may have tougher asks than once seemed likely.

Henderson said: "Yorkhill is a very talented horse - hugely talented - and of course he is going to be a threat. Willie (Mullins) knows him backwards and all I know is that he is a very good horse and he will be a very potent danger.

"There will be lots out there and I take zero for granted. We've just got to concentrate on our own thing and Buveur D'Air came out of his gallop great.

"Altior worked this morning and he was very well. He was perfect. It was absolutely superb. He had his race the other day.

"That was his first gallop he has had since Newbury. He will do a bit at the weekend."

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