Humphrey Bogart
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Humphrey Bogart, fifth behind Harzand in the 2016 Investec Derby, has joined Nicky Henderson to embark on a hurdling career.

Sidelined by a tendon injury since running in the Geoffrey Freer later that season, the former Richard Hannon-trained five-year-old has been with Henrietta Knight for a short spell ahead of his move to Henderson.

“It’s very exciting. His owners have been very patient,” said James Ramsden, representing owners Chelsea Thoroughbreds.

“He’s popped over a few poles with Hen Knight and done a bit more rigorous exercise than what he’s done previously and he’s joined Nicky for the next stage.

“He’s no longer injured and Henrietta is very happy, as is the guy who treated his injury. He actually specialises in human tendon injuries and looks at things slightly differently, but he has a good rate of success with horses, too.

“It was difficult from Richard Hannon’s point of view as we didn’t really have many options. It was a question of if the owners were happy to go with it.

“Like any tendon injury, patience is the key, nothing is guaranteed and who knows what will happen on his first race back, but he wasn’t really suitable to be given as a hack as he’s quite highly strung.

“He’ll be kept to soft ground, which is another reason we’re going hurdling.

“There might be something towards the end of the month or in mid-February – it all depends on what his fitness is like. I’ve seen him a few times at Henrietta’s and she is really pleased with him. We’re optimistically cautious.

“Whether he’s handed any Cheltenham entries in case he bolts up first time out, that is entirely in the hands of Nicky Henderson.”