DAIRS Hendo: I was ready for a bloody nose, but Buv’s a champ

The People - - LIFESTYLE -

David Yates

BUVEUR D’AIR swat­ted away Ir­ish star Sam­cro with dis­dain to land back-to-back vic­to­ries in New­cas­tle’s Fight­ing Fifth Hur­dle – and take a gi­ant leap to­wards a third Cham­pion Hur­dle crown.

Trainer Nicky Hen­der­son feared his seven-year-old, win­ner of the Chel­tenham two-miler for the past two sea­sons, was tak­ing on “as big a test as he’s faced” when lock­ing horns with Gor­don El­liott’s Bal­ly­more Novices’ Hur­dle vic­tor, with Supreme Novices’ Hur­dle hero Sum­merville Boy also in the five-run­ner field.

But Hen­der­son’s con­cerns proved ground­less as Buveur D’air, made to fight when se­cur­ing his sec­ond Cham­pion Hur­dle back in the spring, loomed along­side toil­ing leader Sam­cro run­ning to the fi­nal flight of the Grade 1 test, his rider Barry Ger­aghty sit­ting mo­tion­less.

De­spite an out-of-char­ac­ter mis­take at the last ob­sta­cle, Buveur D’air, who has un­der­gone breath­ing surgery since his lat­est start, sprinted away for an eight-length supremacy, with Vi­sion Des Flos beat­ing Sum­merville Boy for third.

“I was ready for an­other bloody nose, to be hon­est with you, but I think he showed him­self a cham­pion to­day,” said a re­lieved Hen­der­son, whose Might Bite had re­turned a well-beaten last of five when favourite for Hay­dock Park’s Betfair Chase seven days ear­lier. “I was say­ing – and I re­ally meant it – if he was ever go­ing to get beaten, it was go­ing to be to­day. He’s gone above all ex­pec­ta­tions. “There are other fish in the pond, but now he is the horse they have to beat.” The book­mak­ers

BU-TIFUL RE­SULT: Ger­aghty and Buveur D’air win, to the de­light of owner JP Mc­manus

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