Buveur D’Air star turn in Fighting Fifth Hurdle
Buveur D’Air bids to stretch his top tally to nine with a success in the Betfair Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle.
Nicky Henderson’s double Champion Hurdle hero has created an effective start to his season at the Gosforth Park Grade One in each of the past two seasons – and also is going to be a warm order to finish the hat-trick on Saturday, taking on just four seemingly inferior rivals.
If the JP McManus-owned eight-year-old prevail as expected, he’ll become only the third largest winner of the Fighting Fifth after Comedy Of Errors (1972, 1973 and 1974) and Birds Nest (1976, 1977 and 1979).
Henderson stated:”I’ve completed a great deal of work with him and we’ve had a good preparation, therefore all has gone well really.
“He seems big, but he’s done everything right going into the race. Let us just hope the meeting is on. I have not got a contingency program, so I’m trusting the BHA (British Horseracing Authority) have you.
“The Fighting Fifth may not be too strong this season, but you still have Silver Streak in there and Lady Buttons and there’ll be worse horses over them to carry first time out.”
The danger to Buveur D’Air on evaluations is that the Evan Williams-trained Silver Streak. The grey finished third in last year’s Champion Hurdle – where Buveur D’Air was an faller – and left with a reappearance in Kempton last month.
“Silver Streak is grand. He actually enjoyed himself at Kempton and came from the race nice,” explained Williams.
“It was a lovely race to start off him in and, given how tough some of his assignments were last year, it was really good to go and get his head in front.
“This weekend will be another challenging assignment. I believe anyone who believes Buveur D’Air isn’t the horse he had been needs their head checked.
“We are very grateful to be taking part in a race like this from a horse like Buveur D’Air, that has never had the recognition that he deserves. He’s a double Champion Hurdle winner and it is a joy to be competing against a horse like him.”
Phil Kirby saddles his high profile mare Lady Buttons after she notched a 13th career win at a lawsuit event at Wetherby last time.
The nine-year-old retains the choice of running over fences in Newbury on precisely the day, in the event Newcastle is left handed.
“It’s not often you have a horse who is third favourite to get a Grade One – or we don’t anyway. There’s five runners and we all decided we’d give it a try,” said the North Yorkshire handler.
“She’s had a rush, she is healthy and well and she is in good form at home.
“If she can be put at a Grade One it’d be fantastic for her”
When shooting a Wetherby disability barrier on his 27, cornerstone Lad is a former winner within the course for Micky Hammond and also had a lot in hand.
He faces a massive step up in class this weekend.
Hammond stated:”He will love the floor, he’s a class and distance winner and he’s in great shape.
“Buveur D’Air is a blasting horse – he’s one of my favourites.
“The Fighting Fifth is a great race and it’s nice to have a horse to run inside.”
Tony Carroll’s outsider Nelson River, that finished fourth completes the quintet.
Carroll stated:”it is a tough ask, however we believed when there was a small entry we would let him take his luck.
“He is a fantastic horse and I’m sure he’ll run well.”