Henderson, educated at Eton College, has been a trainer since 1978, based at Seven Barrows near Lambourn, Berkshire. Previously he was an amateur jockey, and assistant trainer to Fred Winter between 1974 and 1978.
His most notable successes have come with See You Then, winner of the Champion Hurdle in 1985, 1986 and 1987; Remittance Man, winner of the Queen Mother Champion Chase in 1992; Punjabi, winner of the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle in 2009 at the Cheltenham Festival and Binocular, winner of the 2010 Champion Hurdle. Binocular's Champion Hurdle gave Henderson a fifth win in the race, equalling the record held by Peter Easterby. Zaynar, another horse he trained, also won at the 2009 Cheltenham Festival in the Triumph Hurdle. He was Champion Trainer in the 1985/86 and 1986/87 seasons. His record at the Cheltenham Festival is particularly good and no currently active trainer has won more races at the Festival than Henderson. His main stable jockey was Mick Fitzgerald until Fitzgerald was forced to retire by an injury sustained in the 2008 Grand National; since the 2008-09 season Barry Geraghty has been Henderson's principal jockey in Britain.
One of Henderson's most popular horses in recent years, Caracciola, won the Cesarewitch Handicap flat race at Newmarket in 2008 at odds of 50/1 as an 11 year old, despite mainly being a National Hunt horse. Caracciola followed up this success by winning the Queen Alexandra Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2009 as a 12 year old with Eddie Ahern riding on both occasions. This victory is Henderson's only winner to date at the famous Royal Ascot meeting.
His father was Johnny Henderson who was one of the founders of the Racecourse Holdings Trust as well as earlier in life being Aide-de-camp to Field Marshal Montgomery. In 2005 two years after Johnny Henderson's death Cheltenham renamed one of the races at the Cheltenham Festival in his honour as the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase. In 2006 Nicky Henderson won this race with a horse called Greenhope.
In June 2009, Henderson was found guilty by a British Horseracing Authority panel of breaching the rules of racing, after Moonlit Path, a mare he trains for the Queen, failed a drugs test. Henderson admitted to three of the four charges he faced in relation to the case, in which a prohibited anti-bleeding drug was found in the horse's bloodstream. Henderson accepted that the drug should not have been administered, but argued that it had been done so for the horse's welfare, and that he had not been attempting to enhance performance. 
A further hearing was held in July 2009 to determine the sanction to be applied, and Henderson was fined £40,000 (a record penalty for the sport in the UK) and banned from running horses for three months (11 July to 10 October 2009).
- ↑ http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/other_sports/horse_racing/8039635.stm
- ↑ http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/other_sports/horse_racing/8126558.stm
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