Tuesday 16 January 2018

Grandouet set for Hurricane Fly rematch at Punchestown 

Tom Peacock

Grandouet will have another crack at Hurricane Fly in Punchestown's Rabobank Champion Hurdle to determine whether he will commence novice chasing next year.

Trainer Nicky Henderson was left wondering what might have been after his horse fell when still appearing to be going nicely in Tuesday's Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham, eventually won by Willie Mullins' star.

It was only Grandouet's second start of the campaign and the trainer said on Saturday: "The Champion Hurdle was the missing race, so we'll definitely go to Ireland.

"We'll know whether to stay hurdling if we're good enough to give Hurricane Fly any sort of a fright there.

"If he's blatantly 10lb behind or anything like that, we'll know to go novice chasing next year, but we need to do that to find out this year.

"I don't think he's a two-and-a-half-mile horse." Sprinter Sacre, who ran away with the Queen Mother Champion Chase, is to join his stablemate at Punchestown, but there are question marks over Simonsig, who was not as impressive as many had hoped despite landing Tuesday's Arkle.

"I don't think you saw the proper Simonsig there, we'll have a look at him," Henderson said.

"He seemed to be running away from something and his scope was not quite right after the race. It's as well we didn't scope him before as I wouldn't have run him." There could also be an issue with Oscar Whisky, who was pulled-up as favourite for the Ladbrokes World Hurdle.

"He was a bit lame, but I've not found anything dramatic," said Henderson.

There will be further outings in the spring for Supreme runner-up My Tent Or Yours and Riverside Theatre, who stayed on for fourth in the defence of his Ryanair crown.

"I'd say Riverside Theatre ought to run again and whatever he does ought to begin with a three," Henderson said.

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