The message from Riccarton Park was clear.

Debbie Henderson is back and the Beckett brothers, Tommy and Ross, are back again.

Henderson, now based at Oamaru, celebrated a long drought over the Riccarton country when Mi Senor won the Homeby Steeplechase for Awapuni trainer Mark Oulaghan on Saturday.

It was a win which promised to propel Henderson back into the limelight in which she basked at the 1994 Grand National carnival when Noble Express made her the first woman to win the Grand National Steeplechase.

"That was a long time ago and I don't want you to start looking for my last winner here," said Henderson, whose lack of recent success on the course has been more due to fewer rides than any diminishing of ability.

"But this horse could go a long way.

"He hasn't had a lot of practice but he just relaxes and takes everything in his stride. He's not a spectacular jumper but he's super-efficient."



In Saturday's race Henderson tussled with Joe Bee Oh, ridden by Shane Anderton, until the turn and it must have rekindled Grand National memories for both.

Anderton rode Peridot into second place behind Noble Express in the Grand National Steeplechase, completing a Brian Anderton stable quinella.

Shane Anderton said Joe Bee Oh struggled in the heavy ground in the main straight.



"I tried to put a break on them down the back and so nurse him home but he couldn't do it," he said.

He had his moment in the sun earlier in the day when Narousa won the Grand National Hurdle Trial like a horse who already has a down payment on the real thing next month.

The Beckett brothers look set to be rivals in the Winter Cup at the same meeting after King d'Or and Cruella won on Saturday.

Ross Beckett said Cruella was a mare with potential.

"I would have to consider running her in that [the Winter Cup] now," Ross Beckett said.

"She handles the ground and is improving with every start. She could go a long way."

Tommy Beckett also produced Hot Rumours to run boldly in the open sprint but King d'Or's run was the highlight.

- NZPA