Thursday 23 November 2017

Henderson eyeing Irish Champion tilt for Zaynar

Thomas Kelly

Nicky Henderson is considering supplementing Zaynar for the Toshiba Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown on January 24.

The Triumph Hurdle winner has maintained his unbeaten record over timber this season, but has been racing over trips in excess of two miles.

While that does not concern Henderson, the recent spate of abandonments does.

"A lot of people have said they'd like to see him run over two miles, but I'm quite happy running him over further (before Cheltenham)," said the Seven Barrows handler.

"The whole point is we've been running him over two and a half, he's enjoying it, he's travelling well and when he drops back to two I think we'll almost certainly have to put the cheekpieces back on.

"They were Barry's (Geraghty) idea last year and they certainly helped him. There are a couple of races over a bit further I could use or he could go to Ireland, he's actually not in it, but I think I could supplement him."

According to the trainer, Binocular will almost certainly go to Sandown (Contenders Hurdle, February 6), while Punjabi has a choice of going to Leop-ardstown or to Haydock on Saturday week (Champion Hurdle Trial).

Geraghty, meanwhile, says that he respects the Champion Hurdle claims of Colm Murphy's mare Voler La Vedette.

Geraghty was in the saddle at Down Royal when she beat Noel Meade's Go Native, which has subsequently gone on to win the Fighting Fifth and Christmas Hurdles.

Voler La Vedette was less impressive at Leopardstown against her own sex last time out and will be seen next in the Toshiba Irish Champion Hurdle on January 24.

"She was very good on the day and she couldn't have done anything more than she did," said Geraghty, referring to the Down Royal win.

"The ground was probably on the slow side, but she trounced Go Native and there was no second really, it was a very, very good performance.

"She was good at Leopardstown last time, but it's such a wide-open race you couldn't rule out any horse and she definitely will be one to respect. Colm has said she'll go for the Irish Champion Hurdle and they'll decide which race to go for at Cheltenham after that."

Irish Independent

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