Brain Power to Take International Hurdle on Return to Smaller Obstacles

The Nicky Henderson trained Brain Power returns to hurdles on Saturday at Cheltenham in the International Hurdle, and he looks set to run a very big race.

The seven year old was last seen over hurdles running in the English and Punchestown Champion Hurdle races, showing that he is a horse capable of mixing it with the very best, although he does fall just short when it comes to having the ability to actually win a top Grade One race.

Since then we have seen him run over fences, but jumping errors over the bigger obstacles have prevented him from showing his true colours in that dicipline. He only won once over the bigger obstacles, and failed to complete on three of his six starts, but he did come second at the Festival behind Footpad to show some promise. He now returns to hurdles and that is probably the best move for his career at this time. He is unlikely to get to the top of the game in either the hurdling or chasing division, but there are fewer risks attached with hurdling, and he looks more at home when over those obstacles.

The Grade Two International Hurdle that Brain Power runs in on Saturday is the ideal race for those who are just short of being top level, and this is the ideal starting point for him. He goes up against horses that have clear ability, such as Old Guard, Vision Des Flos and Summerville Boy, but none of those are of the quality that would scare Brain Power in any way.

Nicky Henderson has done two things right with this horse, the first is to move him back to hurdles and the second is to get him into a winnable race like this one. The jumping game is all about confidence and horses lose that when they don’t win and when they make errors while jumping. There is a chance that Brain Power will need this run to get him back to the horse he was, but he is worth the chance on Saturday, he could be much better than these if he thrives on reverting back to hurdles like he should do.

Nicky Henderson looks as though he is going to have a very good day on Saturday, and Brain Power could be the horse to win the feature race for him at Cheltenham on Saturday afternoon.