Contenders Hurdle Guide

1. Buveur D'Air

Trainer - Nicky Henderson

Jockey - Barry Geraghty

A shock defeat over Christmas brought an end to eleven straight wins over hurdles, with stable mate Verdana Blue proving only the second horse to beat this dual Champion Hurdler over timber.

That result has left the market for this year's renewal with the door slightly open to challengers - although he was only beaten by a short head.

Should win this - his usual preparation for the Festival comfortably for the third time, and would be twice the shock if he did not land the odds this time.

A win here would probably not change his price too much in the Champion Hurdle market and just prove to his backers he is still in excellent order, but boy oh boy if he loses, the likes of Laurina, Melon, and perhaps even Apples Jade will all be licking their lips.

2. Vision Des Flos

Trainer - Colin Tizzard

Jockey - Harry Cobden

Form with Samcro has all but fallen apart this term, and has over twenty lengths to find with the favourite - who eased past him in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle in December.

Hard to fancy after a below part effort at the Festival venue in the International, but someone's got to finish second.

3. De Dollar Man

Trainer - Evan Williams

Jockey -

Useful hurdler in his class, but looks way out of his depth here.

Has been chasing this term but clearly does not take to it, so trainer reverts back to hurdles where he has only raced once in Class One company - that coming down the field in the late Willoughby Court's victory in the Neptune Investment.

Hard to fancy.

4. I K Brunel

Trainer - Olly Murphy

Jockey - Richard Johnson

Very inexperienced 5yo with just two runs to his name, winning on debut at Carlisle in a bumper just three months ago.

Covered a lot of ground in a short space of time, and stepped up to a Class Three field on his next and latest start at Cheltenham - banking some good form with leading Supreme fancy Elixir Du Nutz.

Now needs to go even further - will probably be a good contender in the W/O market, as Buveur D'Air is expected to be in a canter of his own.

5. Rayvin Black

Trainer - Oliver Sherwood

Jockey -

Chopping and changing with the obstacles in front of him, Rayvin Black has not raced in back-to-back contests over hurdles since this time last year - in that space, he has been seen all of nine times.

Constantly swapping about with fences and hurdles, it is hard to find any real consistency, but his best effort came when third in the Coral Hurdle at Ascot in November.

Course and Distance winner from three years ago, perhaps will look to relight that spark.

6. Roksana

Trainer - Dan Skelton

Jockey - Harry Skelton

Roksana would probably be the one you would suspect would scare Buveur D'Air the most.

Lightly raced, the mare notched up a hat-trick of wins at Newbury in March last year in a decent Grade Two field, before finishing a creditable second to star of his trade Santini.

Has been off since and may require the run, but if this mare is on song she can certainly lay it down to the dual Champion Hurdler.

7. Torpillo

Trainer - Nigel Twiston Davies

Jockey -

Having skipped the Triumph trial last week, NTD fancies a crack against the big boys with his unbeaten juvenile.

Torpillo is three from three, and caught everyone's eye when winning on British and stable debut here back in December. Followed that up with another win in tough conditions, and now faces the likes of Buveur D'Air who is double his age.

Tough task but if the quality is there, he could be in with a squeak.

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