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Henderson lifts trainers' title

ESPN staff
April 27, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Nicky Henderson: Champion traner © PA Photos
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Nicky Henderson picked up his first trainers' title since 1987, but he was denied victory in the Celebration Chase at Sandown as his Finians Rainbow was run down after the last by Sire De Grugy.

Finians Rainbow, encountering decent ground for the first time this year, looked sure to score when powering to the front under Barry Geraghty turning for home. He jumped the second last with a two-length lead but was followed through by Sire De Grugy who showed the greater reserves after the last to score a shade cosily.

Those who backed last year's winner Sanctuaire knew their fate early, as he was reluctant to jump off, trailed for much of the race and hit a few fences before fading out of contention.

Paul Nicholls relinquished the trainers' championship to Henderson this season, but he is sure to come back strong next season and he struck in the opener at Sandown with Ptit Zig who stayed on well after the last in the hands of Daryl Jacob to take the Bet365 Josh Gifford Juvenile Handicap Hurdle.

AP McCoy picked up his 18th jockeys' title and upon his return from broken ribs, he will embark on reaching the 4,000 winner milestone.

"My first target was to get out of hospital as quickly as possible and get back riding," he said. "I want to make 4,000 winners, I think I've got 125 to go, and then hopefully win another jockeys' championship. I got a very heavy fall, bruised my chest and was I very sore. I won't be back riding for at least two or three weeks."

Quentin Collonges showed tremendous reserves of stamina to lift the final race of the 2012/13 jumps season, the bet365 Gold Cup.

Henry Daly's grey looked booked for second when headed at the final fence by Same Difference, but Andrew Tinkler galvanised his mount to re-rally and lift the prize.

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