Buveur D’Air Can Bounce Back In Champion Hurdle

Reigning champion Buveur D’air is bidding to become only the sixth horse in history to have won the Champion Hurdle on three occasions this year when he returns to the Cheltenham Festival for the leading 2m hurdle contest on the national hunt calendar.

Nicky Henderson’s runner won the race for the first time in 2017 when he beat the field by over four lengths. He then returned 12 months later when he was made to work hard for his success by Melon, who battled with the champion right up to the finish line.

James Stevens via  Twitter

James Stevens via Twitter

Buveur D’Air made his seasonal reappearance at Newcastle last month in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle and, after beating Samcro and Summerville Boy in what was one of the strongest renewals on the Grade One race for many years, he looked to be on course for an unbeaten campaign going into Cheltenham. The eight-year-old then suffered his first defeat since March 2016 though, when Verdana Blue got the better of him in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton.

Not many people saw that defeat last month coming, none more so than any of his connections. The horse came out of the race okay, therefore, there were no excuses; he was just beaten by a better horse on the day. Given his record over the last three years, he still has to be considered the one they all have to beat at Cheltenham where he should be able to bounce back and reign supreme once again in the 2m hurdle division.

Many of Buveur D’Air’s rivals for the Champion Hurdle this season have also had blips in their campaigns so far including Samcro who was beaten for the third time at Leopardstown in the Ryanair Hurdle. As a result of that defeat, the Irish horse is now out to 25/1 for Champion Hurdle glory this season.

Racing Post via  Twitter

Racing Post via Twitter

Arguably the biggest threat now to Buveur D’Air in March is Laurina who was the winner of the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at the Festival back in 2018. Willie Mullins’ runner is expected to feature in the Champion Hurdle this time around. The six-year-old returned to action at Sandown on New Year’s Day where she landed a listed race. If successful in the premier hurdle race at Cheltenham, she will follow in the footsteps of Annie Power, who was the last mare to score in the race and was also trained by Mullins in Ireland.

It is Buveur D’Air who tops the betting to make it a hat-trick of consecutive wins though and it's hard to back against him for adding his name into the history books.