Robbie Henderson, one of the most successful riders of the past few years, has decided to hang up his boots at the ripe old age of 25. “I’ve been thinking about it for a few weeks,” he admitted, “and I wanted to go out on my terms, and while I felt I was the best that I could be. I didn’t want to be regressive. And Bratton Down is my favourite course, so it was the ideal place to finish.”
With a full-time job as an Insurance Broker, Robbie was finding it increasingly difficult to ride out during the week, and felt that he needed to be realistic and to focus on his career.
His success on Sahara Legend at Ashorne in 2005 was the first of his 98 winners between the flags, and he has won both the Wessex and the Devon & Cornwall area championships. Perhaps his proudest achievement in that sphere, though, was not just finishing runner-up to Will Biddick for the 2013/14 national title but the fact that nobody else, in the latter’s four years of supremacy, has managed to get any closer to him!
Robbie has also recorded 14 victories under Rules, with the highlight being his triumph on Ellerslie George, owned by his father Guy, in the 2009 Badger Ales Chase at Wincanton. “It was early in my career and I didn’t appreciate it as much as I would now,” he confessed, and he paid tribute to the winner’s trainer Nick Mitchell. “I started with him and he helped me so much,” he emphasised. “If you’d told me when I started that I’d ride 100 winners I wouldn’t have believed it,” he continued. “I was so bad to begin with, and fell off everything!”
He names as “very special” the winners which were trained at home by his father, while many of his successes were for Ed and Polly [Gundry] Walker, with whose syndicate of owners, the Otter Partnership, “I had some really good times,” and Richard and Kayley Woollacott.
Although Point-to-Pointing will undoubtedly leave a hole in his life, he stressed that he is retiring with no regrets and some wonderful memories.
And one imminent happening to which he is looking forward is the final meeting of the current campaign. “I’ll be able to enjoy the party at Umberleigh without worrying about riding!