Buveur D'Air back for more at Haydock

Thu 29 Dec 2016

Buveur D'Air has just two rivals in the Watch Racing UK Free on December 31 Novices' Chase at Haydock on Friday as he returns to the scene of his debut success over fences.

The Nicky Henderson-trained five-year-old emerged through the fog to land the odds from a smart rival in Cloudy Dream at the Merseyside venue two weeks ago.

Buveur D'Air, a Grade One winner as a novice over hurdles last season, has scared away most of the opposition from an original entry list of 15. Only the Patrick Griffin-trained Aminabad and Caroline Bailey's Gorran Haven are taking him on.

"From what we could see, he jumped well at Haydock and he goes back there," said Frank Berry, racing manager to owner JP McManus.

"Nicky says he is in grand nick and good form. We are just hoping for a clear round."

Cloudy Dream's trainer Malcolm Jefferson saddles an exciting recruit of his own in Mount Mews in the EBF 'National Hunt' Novices' Hurdle (Qualifier).

The five-year-old, owned by Trevor Hemmings, won both his bumpers in the spring before making a highly-promising introduction over the smaller obstacles at Kelso earlier this month.

"He's in good nick. We go there hoping to win again," said Jefferson.

"I don't know if the ground will suit him that well, but he has run on softish ground before.

"You've got to get some experience into them somewhere. That's what we're looking for and we want him qualified for that series."

Mount Mews faces a handful of rivals headed by Stowaway Magic from the Henderson team and the Venetia Williams-trained Du Soleil, who made a winning debut in a bumper on this course last November.

The contest hinges on the course passing a 7.30am inspection.

Clerk of the course Kirkland Tellwright inspected the course twice on Thursday and will look again at 7.30 in the morning as the track was still frozen in places.

"We are sweating a bit. It's still unfit in the back straight, but there is a change in the weather forecast so we are going to have one final look early in the morning," he said.

"This change in the weather is going to have to be with us by then.The temperatures are supposed to get up to 9C."

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