Buveur to take off over fences for Henderson
Read Paddy Brennan At 32Red.com Novices' Chase (Class 2) | 1m7½f | 4yo+ | RUK
Buveur D'Air, one of the leading novice hurdlers from last season makes his hotly-anticipated chasing debut for Nicky Henderson in this four-runner novice chase.
The five-year-old was impressive in finishing third to Altior in the Supreme Novice Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March before edging out Petit Mouchoir to win the Grade 1 novice hurdle at Aintree by a neck, and Henderson is ready to unleash the new JP McManus recruit on Saturday.
Henderson said: "He will run in the colours of JP for the first time and makes his chase debut in what looks a good race to start him off in."
However this will be far from merely a schooling session if he is to get home in front as the Malcolm Jefferson-trained Cloudy Dream poses as a potentially useful chaser himself under the in-form Brian Hughes.
The Trevor Hemmings-owned six-year-old has the benefit of two runs over fences already, and holds creditable form after demolishing Pain Au Chocolat by twelve lengths at Haydock last month, the result of which means he has to give 8lb to his nearest rival and is installed as a 16-1 chance for the Arkle in March.
"He gets weight from Malcolm Jefferson's horse, Cloudy Dream, but he did look very good at Haydock and we will have to be at the top of our game to beat him but we have to start somewhere over fences and he's ready to go," added Henderson in his StanJames.com blog.
"Whether his future will stay over the larger obstacles only time will tell, but he's jumped very well at home and I have no concerns at the moment. You'd hope he's in good shape to go."
However, Jefferson is relishing the challenge of taking on Buveur D'Air and reports him to be in good form.
"He's in good fiddle," he said. "There's not that many places to go and the ground will not be ideal.
"You all have to go there and do it and it's [Buveur D'Air's] first run over fences. He was higher rated over hurdles and we have to give him weight but if you're not in it, you can't win it."
The field is completed by What's Up Rory, who makes his first start for trainer Richard Price, and the Richard Hobson-trained Chic Name who returns to race in Britain after three runs in France.