THE village of Whitsbury has another exciting racing prospect in its midst - fledgling trainer Paul Henderson.

He gained his first success since being granted a permit by the British Horseracing Authority when Lidjo De Rouge scored at Wincanton's featured Boxing Day meeting.

Backers were rewarded with odds of 15/2 on that occasion, and they helped themselves to 5/1 when Lidjo De Rouge followed up with another success last week at Fontwell.

Young jockey Liam Heard, who works for champion trainer Paul Nicholls in Somerset, was in the saddle on both occasions.

Henderson is no stranger to a good horse - as a farrier he shod many champions for David Elsworth when he was resident in Whitsbury, none better than the incomparable Desert Orchid.

The great grey horse suffered with corns, so Henderson's skill at shoeing time was a critical element in Dessie's' many successes.

Now he is shoeing and training his own horses, while continuing in his role as a farrier - fellow Whitsbury trainer Ralph Beckett is among his clients.

Henderson says: "My ambition is to gain a full licence which would enable me to train for other owners, and not just for my immediate family, so Lidjo De Rouge's two victories are a big help in convincing the licensing authority that I'm up to the job."

A nine-year-old, Lidjo De Rouge's route from his former stable in southern France to the village, near Fordingbridge, posed a dilemma for his current owner/trainer.

Having contacted bloodstock agent Pierre Boulard with his requirements, Henderson received a phone call to say a suitable horse was in transit.

Henderson says: "I have never met Pierre, so I said, I'll come over to France and take a look at him.' "Pierre said, there's no need, this one will suit you fine', and he was most insistent that I should transfer the money and leave the choice to him.

"You can imagine, I was pretty nervous when the lorry arrived at Whitsbury, but Pierre was as good as his word, and the horse has proved better than we hoped."

Henderson rents his stables near the village from farmer William Wallis, and uses the famous gallops thanks to an agreement with owner Chris Harper of the Whitsbury Manor Stud.

In partnership with a friend, marathon runner Mark Gregory, Henderson has studied human athletes and applied many of their training methods to racehorses.

That has stood him in good stead with Lidjo De Rouge, who is expected to be in action at Wincanton on Saturday week (January 19).