Buveur’s air of success
BUVEUR D’air had to show courage to go with his undoubted class to successfully defend his crown in the Unibet Champion Hurdle.
Trainer Nicky Henderson’s decision to abort a novice chase campaign to revert to the smaller obstacles paid off spectacularly when he won the two-mile hurdling crown last March and, having won each of his previous three starts this season with the minimum of fuss, he was the 4-6 favourite to become the first horse to win back-toback renewals of the race since Hardy Eustace in 2005.
With stable companion Charli Parcs ensuring a sound gallop alongside the 2015 champion Faugheen, Buveur D’air was given a nice lead into the race and, although his jumping was not as sure-footed as usual, he arrived on the scene travelling powerfully after jumping the second flight from the finish.
With Faugheen weakening out of contention, it was stablemate Melon who gave Buveur D’air a real battle racing up the famous hill but Henderson’s charge dug deep for Barry Geraghty to prevail by a neck.
Henderson, saddling his seventh Champion Hurdle winner, said: “It was a good race, a proper race. It’s the first time he has had a race all season after three easy wins and that did worry me.
“He had a good blow, as he simply hasn’t had to knuckle down before. It was job done. He is a young horse and has done everything right the whole way. That is a big relief, you are expected to collect and he has done.”