Thursday 14 December 2017

Binnocular wins Champion Hurdle

Tony McCoy celebrates landing the Champion Hurdle on Binocular. Photo: PA
Tony McCoy celebrates landing the Champion Hurdle on Binocular. Photo: PA

Binocular ridden by Tony McCoy won the feature race, the Champion Hurdle, on day one of the Cheltenham Festival.

Binocular was back to his brilliant best with a devastating display beating Khyber Kim (7-1) with plenty to spare.

Tony McCoy said: "When I schooled him last week it was the first time he has hurdled like we know Binocular can - like a champion hurdler. He didn't have a good build-up this year. He has not been hurdling (well) all year, he's just done something funny every time."

And it might not have been, Bonocular seemingly ruled out by a muscle injury back in February. Trainer Nicky Henderson said: "It hasn't been an easy passage this year. When he was beaten last year, we said he'd come back and AP (McCoy) said he would win it.

"We were actually nine-tenths taking him out and we said he wouldn't run. We did a lot of work. We've got a fantastic team and we ironed out a few things."

There were big disappointments for Punjabi and, especially, Go Native, whose connections were looking at a £1m bonus had the seven year-old done the double of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and Champion Hurdle in successive seasons.

Trainer Noel Meade said: "(Jockey) Paul (Carberry) said he dived at the second hurdle, which he did, and he never felt right after that. It couldn't have been his running, but unfortunately these things happen. "

3:20pm Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy (Grade 1) (1) 2m

Binocular (A P McCoy) 9-1

Khyber Kim (P Brennan) 7-1

Zaynar (A Tinkler) 15-2

Also: 7-1 Celestial Halo 4th

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