Buveur D'Air set for Fighting Fifth hat-trick bid as six possible rivals remain
Buveur D’Air took another step closer in his quest to become the first horse to win three consecutive Betfair Fighting Fifths for 45 years after he was among the seven confirmed for the weekend’s Grade 1 at Newcastle.
The dual Champion Hurdle-winning eight-year-old was last seen landing the Irish equivalent at the Punchestown festival in May, and is just 2-7 with Betfair Sportsbook to make a winning return and secure the hat-trick.
Buveur D'Air defeated Samcro by eight lengths in last season's Fighting Fifth Hurdle.
Among his rivals is the Evan Williams-trained Silver Streak, who finished third in last season’s Champion Hurdle, in which Buveur D’Air fell, and last month cruised clear to land a Listed race at Kempton by eight lengths.
However, Williams believes he is playing for second place with his JP McManus-owned rival looking to have the race wrapped up already.
He said: "We're under no illusions that it's probably an impossible task beating Buveur D'Air on that ground around Newcastle. We're realists but at the end of the day there's not much else we can do with him.
"We're very happy with him and it was lovely to get a nice win under his belt last time after such a hard year last season.
"We think it's the right race for him even though we've got so much respect for the favourite."
Fan-favourite Lady Buttons has also been confirmed for Phil Kirby, who will seek to follow up her Listed success at Wetherby earlier in the month.
Cornerstone Lad looks to continue his impressive run of form, having won three of his last four over hurdles and on the Flat for Micky Hammond, while Cool Mix has finished second or better in four of his five course starts.
Zambella could bid to bounce back after unseating his rider on stable debut for Nigel Twiston-Davies, while the four-year-old Nelson River could also feature.
Buveur D'Air Nicky Henderson
Cool Mix Iain Jardine
Cornerstone Lad Micky Hammond
Nelson River Tony Carroll
Silver Streak Evan Williams
Lady Buttons Philip Kirby
Zambella Nigel Twiston-Davies
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