Connections of promising youngster Sir Jimmy Shand are expecting a bold show when their charge goes for gold in the Brit Insurance Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
The Accordion gelding lost his unbeaten record over timber last time when going down to Wichita Lineman, who currently heads the market at 2-1 with William Hill for the March 16 event.
Although beaten eight lengths by that JP McManus-owned rival at Newbury, handler Nicky Henderson is looking forward to taking him on again.
He said: “He heads for the Brit Insurance – the three-mile novice hurdle - where we’ll have a rematch with Wichita Lineman.
“I still don’t think there’s an awful lot between them and he did everything right up to the Challow (Hurdle).
“In fairness, that day we made the running in horrible ground which I don’t think suits him, and if it could dry up a bit it would help him.
“Wichita Lineman did beat us but everything took us on – as was making the running – and poor old Jimmy had had two battles and won them both.
“Finally Wichita came and had a crack and I think it was a tough day for our fellow, though he didn’t go down without a fight.
“The race didn’t quite go in our favour so I’ll take him on again and I think it’ll be very interesting as they’re both good horses.”
Henderson also has high hopes for Duc De Regniere in the Ballymore Properties Novices’ Hurdle.
“I like him a lot. We’ve ummed and aahed about whether or not he’s ready for a race like this but we think he is and we’re going to run in the Ballymore Properties,” he told At The Races.
“I think we have three nice horses for the three novice hurdles and he’s going to be a lovely novice chaser for next season.
“Mick (Fitzgerald) thinks he is a very professional horse and he’s done everything right and he jumps and travels well enough to run in the race.”