Boodles Anniversary 4-Y-O Novices' Hurdle
Grade 1, Aintree 14:20
£110,000 guaranteed,
4yo only,
2m 209y, Class 1   
Thursday 11th April 2024


1 Sir Gino 11/10F
2 Kargese 7/4
3 Kalif Du Berlais 9/2
5 ran NR: Nurburgring Distances: 3¼l, 14l, hd
Time: 4m 23.99s (slow by 23.99s)

Nicky Henderson’s spring has been tumultuous, with his stable facing challenges ahead of the Cheltenham Festival. The cloud hanging over his yard led to the withdrawal of several key contenders, including Sir Gino.

Despite having saddled only two winners since Cheltenham, doubts persisted about the form and well-being of Henderson’s string. However, Sir Gino stepped up to allay those concerns with a determined performance here.

During the race, Kargese, the Triumph Hurdle runner-up, set a brisk pace in the first half. Surprisingly, she took the lead over the last three flights. While Sir Gino faced some pressure due to a couple of less-than-perfect jumps, he responded to jockey Nico de Boinville’s encouragement and caught up with the filly at the final hurdle.

In the end, the unbeaten French import, once ante-post favourite for the Triumph Hurdle, prevailed by a margin of three and a quarter lengths. His victory showcased his resilience and talent, reaffirming his status as a rising star in the racing world.

De Boinville told Racing TV: "It's been two months of real struggle for everyone in the yard so Sir Gino has really given us a bit of light. Through those two months he was really a light that shone bright in the yard and it was a shame we couldn't run him at Cheltenham but I think he's been vindicated by that today.

"He's still young, he's still novicey and I had to keep him covered because every time I saw a bit of daylight he lit up but as soon as I pulled him out and he's gone again, he's winged the last and I think that shows where he's really going. I knew that if I could get on terms and get on her girth then that was good."

Henderson said: “We knew what we were walking into and while it is a relief, one swallow doesn’t make a summer as they say.

“He galloped right through the line in what was a messy race, it was awfully stop-start. His jumping was untidy up the straight but you could see from the speed on the screen, it got slowed up dramatically, the second was pulling hard as well but he’s done what he had to do.

“He is a very good horse but he’s got a long way to go. He is in Punchestown but that was in case of protestors or bomb scares or something stupid, but I wouldn’t have thought that was high on the agenda.

“I always had the feeling he was going to pick up the second but you could get a tidier race than that.

“He’ll have to stick to hurdles next season but I’m not going to think about that now. I know where one horse (Constitution Hill) is going so we’ll have to see if there’s an alternative route.”


Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1)
£110,000 guaranteed, 4yo only, 2m 209y, Class 1
5 ran
Going: Soft, Heavy in places

1    Sir Gino 4 11-2 Nicky Henderson Nico de Boinville 11/10F
Kargese 4 10-9 W P Mullins Paul Townend 7/4
14 Kalif Du Berlais 4 11-2 Paul Nicholls Harry Cobden 9/2
hd Intellotto 4 11-2 Joseph O'Brien J J Slevin 20/1
5 38 Dirty Den 4 11-2 Syd Hosie Sean Bowen 150/1
NR Nurburgring 4 11-2 Joseph O'Brien Danny Mullins