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Henderson confident Altior and Buveur D'Air will return to top form at Cheltenham

  • We bring you some kew quotes from Nicky Henderson from the last week
  • Henderson said he's been "very pleased" with Altior's work since that loss at Kempton
  • The former Champion Trainer also said Buveur D'Air will "definitely" run in the Champion Hurdle
buveur d'air
Buveur D'Air pictures at Haydock on his return from injury. (Getty)

Nicky Henderson had waited the best part of 18 months to see Buveur D'Air make his return to the track. 

Buveur D'Air2021 Champion Hurdle OddsGET 16/1 HERE
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The two-time Champion Hurdle winner entered The New One Hurdle at Haydock last weekend, his first appearance since suffering a horrific injury to his hoof during the 2019 Fighting Fifth. 

Buveur D'Air was sent off as the odds-on favourite, but fell to a surprise defeat at the hands of outsider of the field, Navajo Pass, who made all to claim a surprise win.

"You have to say that you’re disappointed." Henderson told ITV Racing in the immediate aftermath of his star's defeat.

"It felt like he was going to get there comfortably, but then when he got to the last he just had a big blow."

"He’s had a really good gallop and they were going as fast as they could behind him."

When asked whether this defeat would make Henderson's question a fourth tilt at the Champion Hurdle, Henderson replied in typically bullish fashion.

"(He'll) Definitely (run in the Champion Hurdle), and he wouldn’t run before it."

"He has done well (at Haydock), his jumping was as good as ever and it was so slick and quick. He jumped every hurdle like he always used to."

altior sandown
Altior (right) could only finish second in the Desert Orchid Chase over Christmas. (Getty)

The former Champion Trainer also provided fans with a positive update on Altior. Like Buveur D'Air, the multiple Cheltenham Festival winner suffered a high-profile defeat on his return to action over Christmas, losing out to Nube Negra in the Desert Orchid Chase.

When interviewed earlier this month, Henderson said the team were considering a tilt at the Ryanair, as Altior struggled to keep up with the pace over two miles at Kempton. However, it seems the 70-year-old has reverted back to Plan A.

"There's lots of conjecture about whether he'll run in the Champion Chase or the Ryanair." Henderson told Sky Sports earlier this week. 

"But unless something categorically comes up and says this horse wants two and a half (miles), I'm expecting to run him in the Champion Chase,"

"Nico (de Boinville) is very keen to go two and a half, but I do think - and maybe I'm in dreamland - that there is something about him just at the moment that is different to how he was before Christmas.

"He's gone back to doing all his work with his head on the floor. He always used to do that and it was noticeable earlier in the year that he was carrying it much higher, like a normal horse.

"Now he's gone back to tanking along with his head down and I'm very pleased to see him like that.

"He'll always go through that spot in a race where you think 'are you going all right', but he soon answers the question - and I don't think he's lost that."

Altior remains the 8/1 second favourite to win the 2021 Champion Chase, behind 6/5 favourite Chacun Pour Soi. Buveur D'Air had drifted out to 20/1 in the Champion Hurdle betting following last weekend's defeat, but William Hill has clipped the Champion of 2017 and '18 back into 16/1 since Henderson's update.

Altior2021 Champion Chase OddsGET 8/1 HERE
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