NICO DE BOINVILLE
Nico de Boinville's development into one of the country’s top National Hunt riders has been remarkable. Nico only turned professional in 2014 following his first Cheltenham Festival winner on Whisper and less than a year later, he won the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Coneygree, the first novice to win the race in 41 years.
Since that spine-tingling Gold Cup win, de Boinville’s stock has continued to rise and his partnership with the returning Sprinter Sacre which culminated in victory in the 2016 Champion Chase means he will forever be etched into Cheltenham Festival folklore.
Although Sprinter Sacre is now retired and Coneygree is on the side-line with injury, there is another superstar on the scene in the shape of Altior. At the 2016 Cheltenham Festival, Altior stormed to victory in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle by 7 lengths confirming himself as the best young horse around and he followed this up by winning the Arkle last year. This season, he will try to emulate Sprinter Sacre by claiming the Queen Mother Champion Chase. Nico also has the privelige of riding the Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite, Might Bite in March - the enigmatic 9-year-old won the 32Red King George on Boxing Day and is the clear form pick for this year's blue riband event at the Festival.
Nico’s hard work and dedication to get where he is today stemmed from the days as a work rider at Nicky Henderson’s Seven Barrows yard. Whilst he had the satisfaction from being Sprinter Sacre’s work rider, he was frustratingly given barely any rides (just 25 – four of them winners – over three seasons). Years later, he is now Henderson’s principal jockey and there will undoubtedly be plenty more big race victories to come for the 28 year old.