Smooth success for Buveur D’Air

Buveur D'Air made a seamless transition back over smaller obstacles with an effortless victory in the Betfred-sponsored Contenders Hurdle at Sandown.

Barry Geraghty riding Buveur D'air to victory in the Contenders Hurdle

Despite having won his first two races over fences, trainer Nicky Henderson only decided a few days ago to make the switch to see if he was a feasible contender for the Stan James Champion Hurdle.

It proved the right call as the 1/4 favourite cruised past the pacesetting Rayvin Black with consummate ease to book his place in next month's Cheltenham Festival with a facile length-and-a-half success.

Irving was third, with Hurry Henry a tailed-off last of the four runners.

Jockey Barry Geraghty told ITV Racing: "He did it well. He was very slick over his hurdles. He was a bit sticky at the first, but after that he did it well. The ground is tough, but he obviously did it easily."

When asked if Buveur D'Air was a realistic Champion Hurdle contender, the jockey said: "You'd like to think so."

Henderson said: "I think that has earned him his (Cheltenham) ticket. He's done nothing wrong over fences, but he is very good at this and very talented.

"I thought it was worth a shot and he had to do what he did."

Sky Bet reacted by shaving his odds for the Stan James Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham – from 5/1 to 9/2 in their non-runner, no-bet market.

Sky Bet representative Michael Shinners said: "He won as he should have in receipt of weight from the top two and now looks a very interesting contender for the big one in Match."

Read More at Sporting Life

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