Cheltenham Racecourse Runners and Riders

Beveur D’Air Rerouted to Champion Hurdle for Nicky Henderson Team

Nicky Henderson has revealed that Beveur D’Air, second favourite for the JLT Novices’ Chase, will be re-targeted at the Stan James Champion Hurdle on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival.

Now owned by JP McManus, the six-year-old finished third in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle last season before registering a Grade One victory at the Aintree Festival.

After winning both his starts over fences this term, it was fully expected he would run in the JLT Chase – but that has been put on hold and now a return to hurdling is on the agenda.

Nicky Henderson’s charge had been the ante-post favourite for the Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase at Sandown on Saturday, but the Seven Barrows handler explained the change of plan in his blog saying: “It has been decided that Buveur D’Air will not run in the Grade 1 Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase at Sandown on Saturday and will instead revert to hurdles with a crack at the Stan James Champion Hurdle the main objective.

“Faugheen is still the best hurdler in Britain and Ireland and could still be tough to beat but it was a decision we had to make now and Barry Geraghty came and schooled him this morning and he jumped beautifully.”

Champion Hurdle price crashes as Beveur D’Air is rerouted to strengthen JP McManus challenge

After the announcement Beveur D’Air saw his price for the Champion Hurdle tumble, he was available at as big as 33/1 earlier in the week – but by the end of Tuesday he was as short as 5/1 with some bookmakers.

JP McManus could have an extremely powerful team for the main Championship race on day one of the Cheltenham Festival. The legendary owner also has second-favourite Yanworth (4/1) and 2014 Champion Hurdler Jezki (8/1) in the market for the race.

With the absence of defending champion Annie Power and the potential absence 2015 winner Faugheen, it seems as though stables are lining up for a crack at one of the biggest races of the National Hunt season.

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