Moon Racer faces Ballyandy
Moon Racer and Ballyandy, the last two winners of the Champion Bumper, will lock horns on their hurdling debuts at Perth on Thursday.
The former claimed his third win from as many starts at the 2015 Cheltenham Festival and though he missed most of last season through injury, he returned from over a year off the track at Punchestown in April and proved his talent remained intact with a narrow reverse in the Champion INH Flat Race.
Trainer David Pipe reports his seven-year-old's preparation to have gone well ahead of his return to action in the Racing Post Readers Award Novices' Hurdle.
"He's in good form and his work and schooling has gone well," said the Pond House handler.
"We were keen to get him out early, they get decent ground up there and this has been the long-term plan.
"It will be good to get a run into him and the owners are looking forward to travelling up there to watch him.
"I'm sure everyone at Perth will be very happy with the turnout."
The Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Ballyandy struck gold four times in bumpers last season, including in a thrilling victory at Cheltenham in March.
He rounded off his campaign by finishing fourth at the Grand National meeting at Aintree and part-owner Steve Wignall is excited to see his charge make his hurdling bow.
"It looks a very good contest for this time of year, but we're looking forward to it," said Wignall.
"I was at Nigel's last week and he is very happy with our horse. He's in good form.
"Cheltenham was fantastic and he travelled well at Aintree before getting a bit tired.
"He's now had a nice rest and hopefully he'll have another decent season."
Moon Racer and Ballyandy are the star names in an eight-strong field.
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