Thursday 18 January 2018

Binocular's sights set on duel with Hurricane

Nicky Henderson has entered both Binocular and Grandouet in the BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle on January 29 at Leopardstown, where Hurricane Fly is also among 14 top-class entries.

Binocular has yet to reappear this season after returning to training later than his stablemates and with Henderson having so many Champion Hurdle contenders, this race has been mentioned as a possible starting point.

Grandouet – which was forced to miss last year's Cheltenham Festival through a late setback – made a pleasing return to action in last month's International Hurdle behind Zarkandar. John Quinn's Countrywide Flame is another possible challenger from Britain.

Hurricane Fly will be bidding to land this race for a second successive year. His Willie Mullins-trained stablemates So Young, Thousand Stars and Zaidpour are also among the possibles.

Charles Byrnes has entered Solwhit and Trifolium, while Gordon Elliott's recent Ascot winner Cause Of Causes, Captain Cee Bee, Unaccompanied, One Cool Shabra and Hisaabaat complete the list of possibles.

Meanwhile, the presence of Nicky Henderson's Captain Conan and the Paul Nicholls-trained Unioniste was not enough to save the Dipper Novices' Chase at Sandown this afternoon.

Originally intended for Cheltenham on New Year's Day, the BHA rescheduled the Grade Two contest when that fixture was abandoned, but it did so under the stipulation that the race could still be abandoned if there were less than four declarations.

Captain Conan, Unioniste and Ben Case's Brass Tax were the only entries, even though there were seven initial entries when the race was reopened.

Irish Independent

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