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‘I’ve taken sleeping pills every night for 20 years’ – Nicky Henderson & the ‘little happy’ tablets that keep him going


NICKY HENDERSON has revealed he has taken sleeping tablets ‘every night without fail for the last 20 years’.

The legendary horse trainer says the stress of staying at the top of the game keeps him awake – and in a weird twist of fate it could be Not So Sleepy giving him nightmares on Saturday.

Iconic trainer Henderson says the stresses of staying at the very top of the game keep up him at night

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Iconic trainer Henderson says the stresses of staying at the very top of the game keep up him at nightCredit: PA:Empics Sport

Hughie Morrison’s ten-year-old dead-heated with Epatante in the Fighting Fifth last year.

The duo will do battle again on Saturday in the same race – but it’s Hendo’s Constitution Hill who will be the star of the show in the Grade 1 hurdle.

Possibly the best horse in training, Constitution Hill’s long-awaited return comes seven days after his non-runner fiasco at Ascot.

All roads lead to Cheltenham for last year’s breathtaking Supreme winner, who is red-hot fav to end Honeysuckle’s vice-like grip on the Champion Hurdle.

But Constitution Hill is just one of 150 thoroughbreds in Hendo’s care.

The Seven Barrows supremo, 71, says the rigours of training, race planning and decision-making leave his mind racing.

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So much so that he would often wake in the middle of the night agonising over his runners.

But in an interview with the Racing Post, he revealed how he has managed to calm down with a little extra help.

He said: “I go to bed worrying most night. I’ve taken sleeping pills every night without fail for the last 20 years.

“I know it’s all in my head, but if I didn’t take them it would be a waste of time going to bed.

“If I wake during the night I find it impossible to go back to sleep.

“We actually got some help from a lovely man in London.

“What he prescribed aren’t drugs, I promise you, and they aren’t addictive, but they’re a bit like little happy pills.

“Since I’ve been taking them I can get straight back to sleep.”

Funnily enough, Not So Sleepy could keep Henderson tossing and turning ahead of Saturday.

The ten-year-old was all heart when passing the post with Epatante 12 months ago.

But it’s clear bookies think there is only one winner.

Betfair price Michael Buckley’s Constitution Hill 1-4 to win the Fighting Fifth, with JP McManus’ mare Epatante 7-2 and Not So Sleepy a distant 14-1.

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Commercial content notice: Taking one of the bookmaker offers featured in this article may result in a payment to UK Times. 18+. T&Cs apply. Begambleaware.org


Remember to gamble responsibly

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  • Establishes time and monetary limits before playing
  • Only gambles with money they can afford to lose
  • Never chases their losses
  • Doesn’t gamble if they’re upset, angry or depressed
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