Cheltenham 2017: Buveur D’Air wins Champion Hurdle

Second favourite Buveur D’Air, ridden by Noel Fehily, stormed to victory in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham, reports BBC.
The Nicky Henderson-trained six-year-old, a 5-1 shot, came home ahead of My Tent Or Yours (16-1) and Petit Mouchoir (6-1).
It was Fehily’s second Champion Hurdle victory, and owner JP McManus’ 50th winner at Cheltenham.
Yanworth – the 9-4 favourite – never settled and placed seventh.
Henderson’s sixth winner makes him the most successful trainer in the history of the race, following successes with See You Then (1985, 1986, 1987), Punjabi (2009) and Binocular (2010).
Podcast: Henderson’s record-breaking opening day
“It’s fantastic. To win one was great, to win two is special,” said Fehily, whose first Champion Hurdle win came on Rock On Ruby in 2012.
“I was very happy with him. My worry was if he would travel well enough down the hill but he travelled well and jumped well – it was a great performance.”
Petit Mouchoir, trained by Henry De Bromhead, led with two jumps to go but was hauled back by the two Henderson horses.
Henderson (left), Fehily (centre) and McManus (right)
Henderson (left), Fehily (centre) and McManus (right) were presented with awards on a record day for trainer, jockey and owner
The 66-year-old also trains My Tent Or Yours, who finished second for a third time, having fallen just short in 2016 and 2014.
“I just know he’s a very talented horse,” Henderson said of Buveur D’Air.
“He’d won two novice chases and I just knew there was more there. You just felt there was unfinished business.
“It was very open – you could have had any sort of winner. I was happy with the ground, it hadn’t dried like people thought it would. I knew it was safe enough and I thought it would suit him.
“All records are there to be broken. It’s the horses and the people that make it. It’s rather surreal really. Of course it’s special, it’s just fun. When this thing happens it’s even better fun.”
Though the past two champions – Annie Power and Faugheen – weren’t present because of injury, and their fans are sure to have a view on how they’d have fared against Buveur D’Air, you have to say the new champ took the crown in fine style.
Taking over the lead as he headed towards the last hurdle, the only six-year-old really asserted, with a three-time runner-up four and a half lengths away in second.
Trainer Nicky Henderson is superb with these top hurdlers, and he enjoyed a memorable day with Altior taking the Arkle Trophy, though how big a battle he’d have had if Charbel – who fell in the lead at the second last – stood up we’ll never know.
In the first of Tuesday’s races, 17-year-old jockey Jack Kennedy claimed a stunning victory on Labaik, a 25-1 shot who had refused to run in several of his previous races, in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
“It was brilliant, a dream come true. The horse can be very quirky but it all worked out well,” Kennedy told BBC Radio 5 live.
“I don’t really come from a racing background, My mother’s grandfather might have had a pony or something, that’s about it.
“My father is a welder and my mother is a child-minder, but my older brother had a few ponies at home. I started pony racing when I was nine and that was it.”


Top