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Nicky Henderson says Buveur D'Air's season in doubt after Newcastle injury

By Andy Stephens@StevoGG
Sun 1 Dec 2019

Nicky Henderson said on Racing TV on Sunday that he is hopeful Buveur D’Air will make a full recovery from the injury he picked up in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle but that whether he runs again this season is a “grey area”.

The two-time Champion Hurdle winner made a bad blunder at the second-last flight in his narrow defeat to Cornerstone Lad at Newcastle on Saturday.

A piece of wood from the hurdle became wedged in his hoof, and he finished lame, with Barry Geraghty dismounting after the line.

Listen to what Nicky Henderson had to say on Luck On Sunday

“The injury was so freakish you’d think it was impossible to even do it,” Henderson told Racing TV’s Luck On Sunday programme.

“A great wedge of wood went into his coronary band, right underneath the hoof.

“I’ve spoken to AP (McCoy), who is at the surgery, and I’m going down soon. In simple terms it’s like a very large splinter underneath your nail, and it is very sore.

“The good news is that the coffin joint hasn’t been infected, which is very important, so now it is a matter of getting the piece of wood out from under the hoof – but they will have to open the hoof to let it come out, because it’s the only way.

“They are hopeful they can do it without a general anaesthetic, and then – all going well – it is a matter of how long it takes to grow the hoof back over, which will undoubtedly be some considerable time.

 Buveur D'Air finished the Fighting Fifth with a piece of wood stuck in his foot)
Buveur D'Air finished the Fighting Fifth with a piece of wood stuck in his foot)

“The risk of infection is a worry – but the fact the coffin joint isn’t infected is a big thing, because that is real danger area.”

He later reported in his blog for Unibet: "The procedure went well this morning and they were able to do it without having to put him under a general anaesthetic which can sometimes cause problems when the horse comes round and they can often fall when attempting to get back up, but thankfully the removal was conducted with him standing up."

While hopes are high of a full recovery, Henderson cannot put a timescale on a return to action.

He told Nick Luck: “Nobody is even talking about when we might see him next – all that is being talked about is making him more comfortable, eliminate the pain, but he’s in the best place.

“If all goes well for the next 24 hours then I think we are through the worst of it, and then we can concentrate on getting the hoof to grow back, but there will be a hole which will take quite some time to heal.

“I think this season is going to be a grey area, and we probably won’t know for another fortnight. We need to get him back in good shape and then will discuss the long-term future – if everything is right there’s no reason he shouldn’t return.”

He added to Unibet: "It’s a terrible shame for everyone concerned including Hannah Ryan who absolutely adores him and she has barely left his side."

Buveur D'Air fell in the Champion Hurdle last season, having won the 2017 and 2018 renewals of the race.

He is a best-priced 10-1 to regain his crown, although some bookmakers have removed him from their lists.

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