LAST season's Champion Hurdle hero was a prohibitively priced 1-6 favourite to see off four inferior rivals in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle at the start of this month, but it was still hard not to be impressed by the way he dispatched them with the minimum of fuss.

With dual Christmas Hurdle hero Faugheen appearing increasingly likely to remain on home turf in Ireland over the festive season, Buveur D'Air will be a hot favourite to claim a prize Henderson has previously won with Geos (2000), Landing Light (2001), Binocular (2010 and 2011), Darlan (2012) and My Tent Or Yours (2013).

Speaking at a media open morning at Seven Barrows, Henderson said: " He's just been cantering up there in the snow and he does handle very soft ground, that's the beauty of him.

"That (Christmas Hurdle) is the plan. The timing of the Fighting Fifth brings him (nicely) into the Christmas Hurdle.

"I took him for a gallop at Newbury 10 days before he went to Newcastle and he undoubtedly needed that very badly. I thought he looked enormously big and I was amazed how much he needed that.

"I think Barry Geraghty was a touch concerned and I was a little bit, but I thought it brought him on a lot."

Buveur D'Air is currently a general 5-2 chance to successfully defend his crown in the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, with Faugheen the 7-4 favourite to regain the title he claimed in 2015.