Buveur D’Air to be aimed at Champion Hurdle

Buveur D'Air (right) will revert from chasing to hurdling

PICTURE: john Grossick (racingpost.com/photos) Buveur D'Air to be aimed at Champion Hurdle
By bruce jackson 3:30pM 31 JAN 2017

TRAINER Nicky Henderson has revealed that last year's Supreme Novices' Hurdle third Buveur D'Air will be aimed at the Stan James Champion Hurdle after his chasing career was placed on hold.

Buveur D'Air, who was a Grade 1 winner over hurdles last season, had won both novice chases he contested so far this term, and the expectation was that he would be aimed at the JLT Novices' Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

However, Henderson revealed a change of plans in his Stan James blog on Tuesday. He said: "It has been decided that Buveur D'Air will not run in the Grade 1 Scilly Isles Novices' Chase at Sandown on Saturday and will instead revert to hurdles with a crack at the Stan James Champion Hurdle the main objective.

"Faugheen is still the best hurdler in Britain and Ireland and could still be tough to beat but it was a decision we had to make now and Barry Geraghty came and schooled him this morning and he jumped beautifully."

Morebattle next

While the six-year-old holds an entry in the Betfred-backed Contenders Hurdle at Sandown on Saturday Henderson revealed that Buveur D'Air would return to hurdles at Kelso on Thursday, February 16 in the Morebattle Hurdle.

Henderson has often turned to that 2m2f contest for Champion Hurdle candidates and has won the race twice with Simonsig (2010) and Top Notch last year.

Explaining the sudden change of plans Henderson added: "He is a very good hurdler and has close form with Petit Mouchoir so it made sense to go back over timber."

Buveur D'Air beat Irish Champion Hurdle winner Petit Mouchoir a neck in the Grade 1 Top Novices' Hurdle at Aintree last April.

Henderson also reached 100 winners on Tuesday with the success of Champ at Southwell and he added: "The horses are running very well at present and I think it is the quickest we have got to that milestone so let's hope the good run continues!"

Price crash

Buveur D'Air has come into support for the Champion Hurdle since news emerged that he would be switched back to hurdling, while his stablemate Brain Power – who will clash with Yanworth in Saturday's Contenders Hurdle at Sandown – has also been backed.

Buveur D'Air is into 6-1 from 10-1 with William Hill while Brain Power is now 8-1 from 12-1 with the same firm.

William Hill spokesman Jon Ivan-Duke said: "There's some big bucks about for Buveur D'Air and Brain Power. There are clearly some who think Faugheen is vulnerable and are ready to take him on."

Festival preparations

Henderson could run exciting juvenile hurdler Charli Parcs in the Scottish Triumph Hurdle Trial at Musselburgh on Saturday. The four-year-old was a late non-runner at Cheltenham last weekend in a race won by Defi Du Seuil, who is also owned by JP McManus.

He could face Paul Nicholls' prolific winner Cliffs Of Dover as the six-time hurdles winner also features among the eight entries.

Charli Parcs is a top price of 9-1 for the Triumph Hurdle at the festival, but only 8-1 for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle.

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