Dual Unibet Champion Hurdle hero Buveur d’Air (Nicky Henderson/Nico de Boinville) is set to make his first appearance since November, 2019 when he lines up in The New One Unibet Hurdle (2m, 3.15pm, 3 runners), one of four G2 contests at Haydock Park on Saturday, 23 January, Peter Marsh Chase Day.
Owned by J P McManus, Buveur d’Air is an eight-time G1 scorer. Winner of the Unibet Champion at Cheltenham in 2017 and 2018, the 10-year-old has been off the track since sustaining an injury in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle some 14 months’ ago. He has made one previous appearance at Haydock Park, picking up a novices’ chase back in December, 2016. He is set to face two rivals on Saturday – Ballyandy (Nigel Twiston-Davies/Sam Twiston-Davies) and Navajo Pass (Donald McCain/Sean Quinlan).
Ballyandy was successful in the 2020 renewal of The New One Unibet Hurdle, handing trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies a record sixth victory in the race following four-time winner The New One (2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018) and Mistinguett (1997). The 10-year-old has placed on all four of his starts so far this season, most recently taking third in the G1 Ladbrokes Christmas Hurdle at Kempton Park on Boxing Day.
The Gloucestershire-based trainer said today: “Ballyandy has been a wonderful horse for us and we’re looking forward to seeing him run in The New One Unibet Hurdle on Saturday.
“He won the race last year on testing ground, so hopefully he can once again go close.
“He is taking on the returning Buveur d’Air but, given the ground and his form this season, we are hopeful of a good run.
“He came out of the Christmas Hurdle well and this has been the plan since.”
Ballyandy (4) winning last year, picture Haydock Park
The G2 The New One Unibet Hurdle commemorates the outstanding performer The New One, who won this contest a record four times – 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018. The New One won over £1 million in prize money and was successful on 20 of his 40 starts. He was retired towards the end of 2018 and sadly passed away in October of last year following a bout of colic.
Twiston-Davies is also represented in the feature handicap chase of the day, the Peter Marsh Limited Handicap Chase (3m 1.5f, 2.40pm, 10 runners), by Crievehill (Sam Twiston-Davies). Owned by Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, the nine-year-old won a handicap chase over the course and distance in November, 2019. In line with his excellent record at Haydock Park, Twiston-Davies has landed this contest twice with future Grand National hero Earth Summit (1995) and Bristol de Mai (2017), who has gone on to land the G1 Betfair Chase at Haydock Park three times.
The trainer continued: “Crievehill runs in the Peter Marsh Chase.
“He has plenty of ground to find with Royale Pagaille on their Kempton run, but he is a winner at Haydock and hopefully can rediscover his best form."
Heading the weights and market for the Peter Marsh Limited Handicap Chase is Royale Pagaille (Venetia Williams/Tom Scudamore). The lightly-raced seven-year-old, owned by Rich and Susannah Ricci, has been hugely impressive on both his starts this season with handicap victories at Haydock Park and Kempton Park. He holds an entry in the G1 Cheltenham Gold Cup and if successful could bid to follow in the footsteps of Little Owl (1981), The Thinker (1987) and Jodami (1993), who all took the Peter Marsh Limited Handicap Chase prior to tasting success in chasing’s Blue Riband later in the same season.
Other leading contenders for the Peter Marsh Limited Handicap Chase include Sam Brown (Anthony Honeyball/Richie McLernon), a G2 winner on this card last season as a novice, and Sam’s Adventure (Brian Ellison/Ryan Mania), impressive winner of the Betfair Tommy Whittle Handicap Chase over the course and distance on 19 December.
Saturday’s action gets underway at 12.55pm with the G2 Read Nicky Henderson's Unibet Blog Novices' Chase (2m 4f, 5 runners). The red-hot favourite for this contest is Allart (Nicky Henderson/Nico de Boinville). A very useful novice hurdler, the seven-year-old created a big impression when winning the G2 Noel Novices’ Chase at Ascot last month on his chasing debut.
The fourth G2 contest is the Sky Bet Supreme Trial Rossington Main Novices’ Hurdle (2m, 1.30pm, 5 runners). Heading the market at 15/8 with sponsor Sky Bet is Llandinabo Lad (Tom Symonds/Nico de Boinville), who boasts winning form over the course and distance having taken the Listed Betfair Weighed In Podcast Newton Novices' Hurdle back in November. His chief rival looks to be Minella Drama (Donald McCain/Sam Twiston-Davies), a wide-margin winner on his latest two starts at Bangor.
Completing Saturday’s programme are the Unibet Extra Place Races Every Day Handicap Hurdle (3m, 2.05pm, 9 runners), the Unibet 3 Uniboosts A Day Handicap Chase (2m, 3.50pm, 10 runners) and the concluding Unibet Casino Deposit £10 Get £40 Bonus Handicap Hurdle (2m, 4.20pm, 10 runners).
The going at Haydock Park remains Heavy.
The course passed an inspection at 8.00am today. There will be a precautionary inspection at 8.00am on Saturday in view of the risk of frost.
There was 18 millimetres of rain on Monday, 22mm on Tuesday and 35mm on Wednesday. Showers are forecast for today and tomorrow.
Temperatures are predicted to dip to -2 degrees Celsius on Friday night while Saturday is forecast to be dry.
Frost covers are down over the whole course.