Buveur D'Air heads 15 entries left in Champion Hurdle

Wed 7 Mar 2018

By staff

Buveur D'Air is reported to be fighting fit as he prepares to retain his crown in the Unibet Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham on Tuesday.

The seven-year-old, trained by Nicky Henderson, will arrive at Prestbury Park after winning all his three starts so far this season, as he bids to become the first back-to-back winner since Hardy Eustace in 2005.

"He's in good form. Nicky is happy with him and fingers crossed everything goes well with him," said Frank Berry, racing manager to owner JP McManus.

The owner and trainer are also represented by Festival regular My Tent Or Yours, who has finished second in this race three times, including 12 months ago.

"My Tent is in in good form and working nicely," said Berry. "It would be nice to see him stepping out there again this year."

Henderson is also responsible for Charli Parcs and Verdana Blue as he goes for a seventh win in the race.

The 15 confirmations for the two-mile hurdling showpiece feature Elgin, who has been supplemented.

Alan King's six-year-old has enjoyed an excellent season thus far, landing a competitive handicap at Ascot, the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham and the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton from five starts.

Connections confirmed after his latest triumph that a shot at Champion Hurdle glory was under serious consideration and he was added to the field at a cost of £20,000 at Wednesday's confirmation stage.

Dan Downie, manager of owner Elite Racing Club, confirmed today: "We've obviously left the decision as late as possible just to ensure that he was A1 going into the race.

"He seems to be in great form at home, everyone's happy with him and therefore he has been supplemented.

"After he won the Kingwell at Wincanton, we immediately thought that we had to go down the Champion Hurdle route, but we took our time making a decision providing he came out of that race well and he did.

"It's very special for the club to have another runner in the Champion Hurdle. It's hugely important for us and he is the third different horse we've had run in the race.

"Being involved in these championship races is one of the reason why you get involved in the sport. It's great for everyone and it's exciting to have a horse with a live chance in one of the biggest races at The Festival."

Willie Mullins still has a formidable hand, with 2015 Champion Hurdle hero Faugheen joined by stablemates Melon, Min, Wicklow Brave and Yorkhill.

Gordon Elliott has left in Mick Jazz and Apple's Jade, although the latter is expected to contest the OLBG Mares' Hurdle later in the afternoon.

Dan Skelton's Ch'tibello, Henry de Bromhead's Identity Thief and the Evan Williams-trained John Constable complete the list of possible runners.

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