Binnocular wins Champion Hurdle
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
Irish Independent Sport Star Awards
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