It may be a little disappointing when a horse is sent off at 2/11 in a Grade 1 contest, but when it’s the reigning Champion Hurdle zipping around Kempton Park, it’s perfectly enjoyable. Buveur D’Air made light work of his rivals, as the market suggested he would, by cruising to a two-length success over the admirable The New One.
On paper an effortless win over the 163-rated The New One would seem very impressive, but with the 135-rated Mohaayed just a few lengths further back in third, it’s probably best not to worry about the form. This was simply a piece of work for Buveur D’Air, and the outcome was job done.
Displaying his usual speed and ability to fly over the hurdles both efficiently and effortlessly, connections were more than satisfied with the performance. Trainer Nicky Henderson suggested he’s still carrying some weight, while jockey Barry Geraghty has suggested he may have improved from last year, adding up to the possibility we see an even better horse at the festival in a few months time.
Bookmakers were suitably impressed, with the gelding being cut in the Champion Hurdle market, where he now heads the market at a best price of 15/8. The clash with Faugheen promises to be one of the most exciting moments of the 2018 Cheltenham Festival.