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Page last updated at 12:31 GMT, Friday, 12 March 2010

Binocular passed fit for Cheltenham's Champion Hurdle

Binocular
Earlier this season, Binocular was favourite for the Champion Hurdle

Binocular will run in the Champion Hurdle next Tuesday, trainer Nicky Henderson has confirmed, with champion jockey Tony McCoy booked for the ride.

Nicky Henderson's charge finished third behind Punjabi at Cheltenham last year and was favourite for this year's race before suffering a muscle problem.

Henderson ruled him out of the race last month but he has improved since.

The JP McManus-owned gelding came through a vital test on Wednesday when McCoy schooled him over hurdles.

And after a final workout on Friday, Berkshire-based trainer Henderson revealed the horse would take his chance in the first big feature of the four-day Cheltenham Festival.

606: DEBATE

Henderson, who has two other big guns in the race - last year's winner Punjabi and 2009 Triumph Hurdle victor Zaynar - believes the horse is on the way back to his best with the big race looming large.

Binocular was only beaten by a length and a half by current ante-post favourite Go Native in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton despite being under par and underwent scans after that race which revealed the muscle problem.

Despite then winning a three-runner race at Sandown, connections were far from happy and he was susbsequently ruled out of Cheltenham altogether.

But once he returned to training last week, it dawned on the Henderson team that it might be worth making a U-turn and the trainer is now satisfied with the six-year-old.

"All three of mine will now run in the Champion," said Henderson.

"Binocular will be ridden by AP, Barry [Geraghty] will ride Punjabi and Andrew Tinkler will now ride Zaynar. They are all very well and all three are pleasing me."



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see also
Supreme target for star Dunguib
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Solwhit passed fit for Cheltenham
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Champion McCoy keeps Denman ride
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McCoy to ride Denman in Gold Cup
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