LIFE in one sense has turned full circle for Paul Henderson.

In his younger days he rode point to pointers, now they provide the bedrock of his string.

In between he worked for the army in a farrier, a trade he continued when employed by David Elsworth for 25 years, looking after amongst others the mighty Desert Orchid.

But he yearned to be his own man and took out a permit in 2005, his first runner Schemer Fagan finishing second in a bumper.

Henderson however had to wait two years before Lidjo de Rouge gave him first winner in a Wincanton chase. The following year, he joined the professional ranks and since then has turned out a steady stream of winners.

Though he has achieved nine winners on the flat with a modicum of runners, he is essentially a National Hunt trainer.

Henderson currently has some 20 horses in his yard, many derived from his strong association with Aidan Kennedy. Sometimes the Irish agent will ring him with one, maybe two horse available, otherwise he calls Kennedy which leads to a trip across the Irish Sea, a sift through as much as 20 horses before buying what is financially viable.

It was thus he bought Doitforthevillage as a six-year-old pointer. In four seasons, he has repaid his judgement by winning seven of his 25 races over fences netting about 150,000 in prize money.

The veteran will almost run at Cheltenham on Friday's countryside day but his major objectives this season lie at Aintree, firstly in the Sefton Chase in December and then the Topham Trophy at the Grand National meeting, a race in which he finished third in April.

His first experiences of the spruce fences initially left him a little circumspect. First galloping at them, then standing back a little and then brushing through the top of them made him realise he could jump them.

"Tom O'Brien, who rode him, said he really took to them."

Henderson, affable and ambitious, has room for about another dozen at his yard, one hopefully the 'Saturday horse', a quality televised winner that will lift into the more fashionable list of trainers.

Though it may be known as the sport of kings, the reality is more the opposite, as illustrated by the paltry prize money. He once won a race at a provincial track which amounted to a mere £2,700. After paying the jockey and entrance fees, there was little change from a month's training charges.

And though he has a loyal band of owners, none can afford to dip into their pockets to buy horses at telephone number prizes. He has to make the best of the exposed.

"Yes, it a tough game," he acknowledges without bitterness. "Because we are such a small yard, we know we can treat horses individually. I work hard and I don't earn a great deal of money but I am still enjoying it and seeing our horses progress.

"What is I want is to improve the quality of our horses year by year and target them at better races. I would rather have 25-30 horses of quality rather than 60 less good ones."