Sensational Buveur D'Air Defeats Samcro In Fighting Fifth To Go Odds On Favourite For 2019 Champion Hurdle
It was all smiles for Nicky Henderson when landing the Fighting Fifth Hurdle for a record fifth time with his star two miler Buveur D'Air.
Henderson was pleased as punch with the performance which enhanced the seven year old's chances for hat-trick of Champion Hurdle's next month.
National hunt racing outside of the Cheltenham Festival has copped quite a bit of slack at late. Grade 1 contests on a Saturday throughout the season attracting small fields and trainers keeping the stars apart until they meet at Prestbury Park in March.
There was none of that at Newcastle on Saturday however as punters were served up a treat with last year's Champion Hurdle, Supreme and Ballymore winners all going head to head in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle.
Gordon Elliott was forced to delay Samcro's second run of the season following his defection from the Morgiana Hurdle a fortnight ago due to the fast ground. Despite being beaten in open company at Punchestown last April and his defeat on reappearance at Down Royal last month, bettors piled into the six year old who was sent off a the favourite.
Summerville Boy, impressive winner of the Supreme last March was the forgotten horse, sent off a 6/1 chance but he could go with the market leading duo who were left to battle it out three from home.
Jack Kennedy took up the running aboard Samcro with the race getting off to a snails pace.
Pushing on about three out, there was a split second where the winner of the race last year Buveur D'Air looked to be in a bit of trouble but Barry Geraghty brought him alongside to absolutely cruise to a lead and away for what looks like an easy win in the end.
What now for Samcro? It's difficult to see him reversing the form with the winner next March so perhaps a switch to novice chasing?
A seventh Grade 1 for Nicky Henderson's dual Champion Hurdle winner who is now as short as 8/11 for the race at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival.