Wednesday 22 November 2017

Henderson eyes Buveur return at Newcastle

Henderson has confirmed the Tingle Creek at Sandown as the likely comeback target for Altior. Picture credit: Barry Cregg / Sportsfile
Henderson has confirmed the Tingle Creek at Sandown as the likely comeback target for Altior. Picture credit: Barry Cregg / Sportsfile

Johnny Ward

Nicky Henderson is eyeing the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle on December 2 as a starting point for the season for Champion Hurdle hero Buveur D'Air.

The JP McManus-owned six-year-old kicked off the last campaign with successive victories over fences before Henderson decided to change tack and revert to hurdles in the new year.

It proved a masterstroke as Buveur D'Air claimed Champion Hurdle glory at the Cheltenham Festival and he was just as impressive in the Aintree Hurdle the following month.

"We are in no rush with him because he has to have soft ground, which would mean something like the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle could be a possible starting point," said Henderson.

"It very much depends on what the weather is doing. He's cantering away nicely and if he can kick off where he left off in April, we are in for some exciting times ahead."

Henderson has confirmed the Tingle Creek at Sandown as the likely comeback target for Altior and reports his brilliant chaser to be "extremely well physically" ahead of the upcoming campaign.

The seven-year-old carried all before him as a novice over fences last season, winning all six starts including victories in the Arkle Trophy at Cheltenham and the Celebration Chase at Sandown.

The Seven Barrows handler could not be happier with how his charge has summered and a return to Esher in December has been pencilled in for his seasonal reappearance.

Henderson said: "He has absolutely thrived and had a great summer where he ate way too much grass! What he did last season was phenomenal and if he can continue that we have so much to look forward to.

"I wouldn't say he's grown during his holidays, but he's more well-proportioned and looks extremely well physically. Touch wood, all is good with him at the moment."

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