Buveur D’Air is firmly on course to bid for a third successive victory in the 888Sport Contenders Hurdle at Sandown on Saturday.
The eight-year-old has used this listed contest as a stepping-stone to claiming Champion Hurdle glory at Cheltenham in each of the last two seasons and Henderson is hoping history repeats itself.
Buveur D’Air will, in March, aim to become the sixth horse to claim the two-mile hurdling crown three times – and the first since another J.P. McManus-owned star in the mighty Istabraq.
Speaking at Kempton on Monday, Henderson said: “He is going to Sandown on Saturday. Barry (Geraghty) rode him work last Saturday and thought he was great. It’s a tried and tested route. I don’t know who is going to turn up (against him). Let’s just hope the weather holds out.”
The Contenders Hurdle was reopened until Tuesday in a bid to attract further entries.
Henderson also provided an update a positive update on Might Bite.
Last season’s King George hero and Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up has appeared a shadow of his former self so far this term, most recently finishing seventh when defending his Kempton crown at Christmas.
However, he has since undergone a wind operation and Henderson hopes it will help his charge bounce back to his brilliant best at Cheltenham in March.
He added: “Might Bite is in good form and is now cantering away. We are all good – he is very much on course for Cheltenham. He won’t run before, but he will run there.”
GRADE 1 TARGET
Lostintranslation will step up to Grade 1 level for the first time over fences in the Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase on Saturday.
After placing behind Warren Greatrex’s top-class mare La Bague Au Roi on his first two starts over the larger obstacles, Colin Tizzard’s charge made it third time lucky with victory in the Grade 2 Dipper Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day.
Joe Tizzard, assistant to his father, confirmed Lostintranslation an intended runner in this weekend’s two-and-a-half-mile feature.
He said: “He is in lovely form and we are really pleased with him at home. We just need to get another race into him before Cheltenham, otherwise it would be a long time from running on New Year’s Day until March. This fits perfectly.”
Lostintranslation is one of 11 entries for the Scilly Isles and could renew rivalry with the Philip Hobbs-trained Dipper runner-up Defi Du Seuil.
Greatrex has retained the option for La Bague Au Roi – but she is an intended runner in the Flogas Novice Chase at Leopardstown on Sunday.
“We are all set to go to Ireland. She has the entry at Sandown just in case there are any weather issues and we can’t get over on the ferry, but we will aim to get her over Thursday rather than Friday if we need to,” said Greatrex.
Kim Bailey is likely to saddle the unbeaten Vinndication, while Nicky Henderson’s Ok Corral could come back in trip after winning a Listed prize over three miles at Warwick.
Other contenders include Gary Moore’s Dell Oro and Terence O’Brien’s potential Irish challenger Articulum, although he also has options on home soil at this weekend’s Dublin Racing Festival.
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