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National Trust gives Henderson record ending to a special week; FFOS LAS.

Byline: Rodney Masters

A LANDMARK in a career which has spanned more than 30 years ended a fabulous week on a perfect note for Nicky Henderson yesterday when National Trust won the handicap hurdle.

The day after being crowned the Cheltenham Festival's champion trainer, Henderson took his score for the season to 116 - which surpassed last season's record total for the Lambourn stable - when National Trust and Barry Geraghty survived a nosedive at the final flight.

Henderson's assistant Tom Symonds said: "We've had a terrific season despite the terrible weather over the winter, and a terrific Cheltenham with three winners. The one really sad happening this week was the loss of Fairyland, who unfortunately broke a leg yesterday in the conditional jockeys' hurdle."

Apart from National Trust, Henderson has a squad of four others for Ffos Las pioneer DaiWalters, who was more than pleased with his festival challengers Oscar Whisky and Lord Generous.

This win was Walters' second on his home course, which opened last summer and goes from strength to strength with a local loyal cliental of racing enthusiasts and a high level of corporate business.

That old slogan 'it pays to advertise' sprang to mind when Captive Audience made a successful first appearance for rising star Rebecca Curtis in the maiden hurdle and impressed Geraghty to such an extent that he suggested a challenge at the Punchestown festival.

Captive Audience's owner, Londonbased Mark Sherwood, explained how the link was established with Curtis, who trains in west Wales.

"I had horses elsewhere but saw Rebecca's advertisement in the Racing Post and we spent 30 minutes talking when I rang her," he said.

"I'm delighted how things have worked out - I've had seven winners with her in just over a year."

Captive Audience is likely to be aimed at a Punchestown hurdle restricted to winners of one such race.

Curtis said: "I originally had another of mine, Gus Macrae, heading for that race, but we have to juggle plans after Barry's recommendation. He also suggested Captive Audience would be better suited by a right-handed course."

The winner joined Curtis after winning a Tramore bumper for David Myerscough, having come up for sale at Cheltenham in November. She said: "He was a little too free when he came to us and we've been working on getting him to settle."

The Curtis-Geraghty partnership struck again when Herons Well mounted a renewed challenge to master Enlightenment after the last fence in the 2m handicap chase. But the same duo had failed earlier when 6-5 favourite Adams Island was touched off close home by the J P McManus-owned Hopeful Start in the novice hurdle.

Star performance Barry Geraghty in full flight, time after time, to sharpen his already impressive strike-rate at the course Quote of the day "This is almost as good as having a winner at Cheltenham, but not quite" - Ffos Las supremo Dai Walters after National Trust took the handicap hurdle This consistent veteran produced another good effort and is back on his latest winning mark. Results and analysis start page 75 Barry Geraghty: ended his successful week with a treble
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Mar 21, 2010
Words:519
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