Twelve months on from a Cheltenham Festival he could scarcely have dared dream would go so well, Henry de Bromhead is simply concentrating on getting his stable stars back to the showpiece meeting in the shape to do themselves justice.
The County Waterford handler was crowned leading trainer at the Festival for the first time – with his six-winner haul including the brilliant Honeysuckle in the Champion Hurdle and Minella Indo leading home stablemate A Plus Tard in the Gold Cup, while Put The Kettle on took the Champion Chase.
“We just try to get them there in the best shape we can,” he told talkSPORT. “Obviously a lot went the right way for us last year, I don’t know if we can expect that again but we’ll get them there as well as we possibly can and hope for the best after that.”
Much attention will surround Honeysuckle and Rachael Blackmore, as the mare seeks to defend her crown and extend her unbeaten record under rules to 15. Put The Kettle is another returning champion, with the two-mile championship again her target.
De Bromhead said: “She seems good, Rachael schooled her and she jumped well and Rachael was really happy with her, we’re happy with her. At the moment all looks good, she’s just incredible and we’re very lucky to have her.
“We feel that (another crack at the Champion Chase) is the fairest thing for Put The Kettle On, there’s the Mares’ Chase which you could possibly consider an easier option, but she’s done very little wrong around the two miles of the Old Course (at Cheltenham) so we think she’s entitled to go and defend her crown.
“Although she has been disappointing this season, she seems to be really coming to herself now.”
Confirming his Gold Cup contenders on course, he said: “That’s the plan at the moment, both seem good. A Plus Tard worked well the other day and Indo seems in great form. We’re happy with both of them at the moment.”
De Bromhead also had news of Envoi Allen, who has options in the Champion Chase and Ryanair Chase.
He said: “We’re not sure yet, we haven’t really confirmed (which race) but he’s in great form and he worked really well the other day.
“We purposely backed off him after Christmas to freshen him up for the spring and like I say he worked really well the other day. We’re very happy.”