Nicky Henderson focused on Ballymore with On The Blind Side

Wed 7 Feb 2018

On The Blind Side remains on course to put his unbeaten record on the line in the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival on March 14.

The Nicky Henderson-trained six-year-old has not been sighted since winning a Grade Two at Sandown in December after he knocked a joint in the run-up to the Challow Hurdle at Newbury.

Henderson said: "He is good. He has got to look out for this Samcro. We thought we were tootling quite nicely towards that race (Ballymore) but we have got a rather big brick wall there in front of us."

The Seven Barrows handler continued: "I was talking to Alan (Spence) in South Africa on Monday and he said they have got to worry about us as well as us worrying about them. On The Blind Side is a good horse, he really is, and he was impressive at Sandown.

"He had sore shins at Cheltenham the time before and he didn't come down the hill. That is why I stuck to two and a half (miles) and didn't get tempted to go to three.

"It looked for all the world that he wants three miles but he had sore shins and didn't want to come down the hill. When he hit the rising ground, he was off and and away. You go downhill on sore shins and it will hurt."

The four-times champion trainer confirmed that Claimantakinforgan will appear in the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle, while Mr Whipped will run in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle - despite both horses suffering odds-on reversals at Musselburgh on Sunday.

Henderson said: "I think I ran Mr Whipped back to soon and my conclusion was that he was a bit flat.

"They (owners) were keen on running over three miles. They wanted to go to Haydock in a just under a fortnight's time and I thought Haydock in a bog three weeks before Cheltenham is not ideal.

"It didn't quite pay off but I think the winner (Red River) might be a good horse. He will be fine and he will go for the Albert Bartlett.

"I think the track and the ground all went against him (Claimantakinforgan). He is very slick over his hurdles, he just got lost around Musselburgh a bit.

"I'm pretty sure he will still go for the Supreme."

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