Buveur D'Air impresses Mullins

05 December 2017 03:48:56 GMTPlus11

Last week it was Nicky Henderson singing Faugheen's praises and now Willie Mullins has given potential Champion Hurdle rival Buveur D'Air his seal of approval.

The Seven Barrows inmate, winner of the two-mile showpiece at Cheltenham in March, began his season with an emphatic success in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle on Saturday.

Buveur D'Air all but cantered home to land the Grade One contest under Barry Geraghty, not having to come off the bridle as he cruised home ahead of two-time Fighting Fifth winner Irving.

I am sure Nicky Henderson was very pleased. I would be if I had him.

Willie Mullins

It was a fine answer after Faugheen ended 665 days in the wilderness with a bold success in the Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown late last month, making all and powering clear of former Champion Hurdle hero Jezki in doing so.

That led Henderson to suggest 2015 winner Faugheen would be a 'mega threat' to Buveur D'Air should they both line-up at Cheltenham in March, but Mullins has been quick to pay tribute to the JP McManus-owned six-year-old after his comeback win.

"Buveur D'Air was fantastic and I am sure Nicky Henderson was very pleased. I would be if I had him," Mullins said.

"Both horses have done their first trials well. I've not thought any more about his run at Christmas. Fingers crossed we will stay right for Cheltenham."

A potential clash in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton would whet the appetite ahead of March, with Henderson having confirmed Buveur D'Air will be going down that route.

Faugheen's owner, Rich Ricci, has hinted that the 2014 and 2015 Christmas Hurdle winner could return to Kempton later this month, but Mullins has stressed the option of staying at home for a Leopardstown Grade One over Christmas is also very much on the table.

Faugheen, who has missed both Champion Hurdles since his 2015 win, is 2.50 to regain the crown in March.

Buveur D'Air meanwhile is rated a 4.00 chance to retain his crown in the wake of his impressive reappearance at Newcastle.

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