If you put money on Buveur D’Air to bring home the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton on Boxing Day, you must have been feeling reasonably good about your punt.
The seven-year-old had not failed to win a race since 2016, and had romped to victory in the same race last year.
An ugly race from the Paul Henderson-trained horse saw Nico de Boinville atop Verdana Blue (also a Henderson charge) fire back down the straight to claim the Grade One.
Henderson conceded that the feeling was somewhat alien.
Quoted by Sporting Life, the hurdles guru said:
It is a little bit (strange feeling). You don’t want him beaten. Barry is very good. You say you are sorry and I mean that, I will say that to JP (McManus), too. But I know he will say all is fair in love and war.
Thank goodness it was one of our own. Barry didn’t think it made a whole lot of difference (mistake at third-last). It didn’t stop him. He galloped merrily on. It is the second time he has gone through a hurdle. He said ‘no excuses’.
She is a very good mare and she always has been when you get her on decent ground, as she is no good on soft ground. Unless you can promise it will be good to firm it will be a waste of time (training for Champion Hurdle).