By Harry Allwood at Seven Barrows
Nicky Henderson has compared Buveur D’Air’s jumping technique to that of his triple Champion Hurdle winner See You Then but admits he leaves so little margin for error “that you have to close your eyes and pray a little bit”.
Henderson said at his yard at Seven Barrows in Lambourn on Tuesday morning: “He’s so quick over his hurdles it’s frightening.
“He frightens me as you can see what’s going to happen if he gets it wrong by an inch or so as his knees just miss the top. It’s absolute precision.
“I wouldn’t say Buveur D’Air gets dangerously low, but he’s just so fast you have to close your eyes and pray a little bit. I would imagine he’s fun to ride and he’s got scope. He’s talented and very good at his job.”
Buveur D’Air is unbeaten since he finished third behind stablemate Altior in the 2016 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and is the general 4-9 favourite to record back-to-back wins in the feature race on day one at the Festival on March 13.
See You Then provided Henderson with his first Champion Hurdle success in 1985 and followed up that win in 1986 and 1987 to become the fourth triple winner of the two-mile showpiece.
Henderson said: “If you take it down to the art of jumping a hurdle, then yes, Buveur D’Air would remind you of See You Then as his greatest attribute was his jumping. The speed at which he got from A to B was just so electric and that’s what Buveur D’Air is very good at.
“To win three Champion Hurdles you have to be very special and only five horses have done it. They’ve also got to be able to sustain it and stay out of trouble for three years.
“Buveur D’Air has got a long way to go until he’s comparable to See You Then. He’s not there yet and he needs to follow-up in the Champion Hurdle. It’s a hard thing to do.
Buveur D’Air provided Henderson with a record sixth Champion Hurdle success last year and his first since Binocular in 2010. The 67-year-old also trained Punjabi to win in 2009.
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