Buveur D'Air frightens off opposition in Contenders Hurdle

Sat 3 Feb 2018

By staff

Connections of Buveur D'Air hope the Champion Hurdle hero can pass what looks a simple task on paper in the Betfred 'Supports Jack Berry House' Contenders Hurdle at Sandown on Saturday.

The seven-year-old faces just two rivals, John Constable and Cap'N, as he bids to land this Listed contest for the second season running on his way to Cheltenham.

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This race has been the plan since the Nicky Henderson-trained gelding won the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton, as it fits in nicely ahead of next month's Festival.

"There are two rivals there. We're looking forward to running him. Nicky's very happy with him and we hope he gets round safe and sound," said Frank Berry, racing manager to owner JP McManus.

"It's a lovely race to get him out. It worked well for us last year and let's hope it does so again."

Barry Geraghty expects Buveur D'Air to take all the beating, as McManus' retained jockey travels over from Ireland to take the mount despite the attraction of the opening day of the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown.

"You'd imagine he'll take all the beating, he was impressive in the race last year and he's been impressive this year to date, he's been quicker and slicker," Geraghty told At The Races.

"There's not many options for a horse like Buveur D'Air and Nicky wasn't happy travelling him to Dublin a month before Cheltenham, he was happier to find a nice race for him."

Of the opposition, John Constable is a decent performer having won Haydock's Swinton Hurdle and the Summer Handicap Hurdle at Market Rasen in 2017.

He ran creditably behind Buveur D'Air's stablemate My Tent Or Yours in the International Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Horse Racing - Chepstow

Trainer Evan Williams accepts the challenge facing his runner, but is happy to have the opportunity to take on the two-mile king.

"It's nice to be a part of it. It's not his time of year. He's more of a spring and autumn horse, but we're there to take our chance and see how we get on," said Williams.

"He ran a very good race behind My Tent Or Yours at Cheltenham. We were giving him weight and the ground was particularly against us.

"It was his first run back. He disappointed on the Flat and it was then just a matter of having a look at where to run him. He's a smashing horse. He's just taking on a brilliant horse, a superstar.

"It's just a privilege to be taking part against a Champion Hurdle winner."

Connections of Cap'N will be hoping to pick up the £3,210 prize money for third place just by completing the course.

Claire Dyson's seven-year-old has little chance on all known form having been well beaten on his hurdling debut at Huntingdon last week.

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