Dual Cheltenham Champion Hurdle winner Buveur D'Air for trainer Nicky Henderson will make his seasonal return at Newcastle in the Grade One Fighting Fifth where he is searching for a hat-trick of victories in the contest.
The eight year olds trainer still believes he is the horse to beat in the two mile hurdling division and with the sad passing of Espoir D'Allen who landed last seasons Champion Hurdle for Gavin Cromwell, the division is now open again.
Buveur D'Air landed back to back Grade Ones at the Cheltenham festival in 2017 and 2018 but last season did not have his most convincing season results wise but still ran to a good standard.
He started his season off in this race as he did the season before putting in his best performance of the season when seeing off superstar Samcro like he was not there.
He then suffered a shock defeat to stablemate Verdana Blue in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton on Boxing Day before getting back on track at Sandown in the Listed Contenders Hurdle.
His hat-trick bid in the Champion Hurdle loomed and if it wasn't for suffering his first fall of his career many think he would have picked up the pieces and landed the race that ultimately fell apart.
He headed to Aintree stepping up in trip and could only manage a narrow second to Supasundae but finished his season off in superb style showing that he still holds star ability when taking the Grade One Champion Hurdle at the Punchestown festival and reversing the form with Jessica Harrington's gelding.
Henderson's superstar has the Tuesday Cheltenham feature has his main target for the season again but does worry about the current favourite Klassical Dream with the form of the youngster holding plenty of merit.
(Credit At The Races) Henderson said: “I thought he was very good at Punchestown, as he jumped with his usual slickness, and it was marvellous to finish the season on a good note.
“It was sad what happened at Cheltenham when we were trying to win a third Champion Hurdle, but these things happen.
“He is still probably the one they all have to beat on paper. There are some young horses coming through such as Klassical Dream, but it would be great if he could make it to Cheltenham again this year and win a third Champion Hurdle.”
With his run at Newcastle on the horizon he is confident with his gelding running another big race.
Henderson added:“He has been to Newcastle for the last two years and has been brilliant both times.”