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'The champion is back!' - Buveur D'Air claims comfortable victory on season debut

The 2017 Cheltenham Champion Hurdle winner had a handy afternoon in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle.

Geraghty and Buveur D'Air (file photo).
Geraghty and Buveur D'Air (file photo).
Image: David Davies

BUVEUR D’AIR LOOKED impressive on his comeback at Newcastle today.

The Nicky Henderson-trained six-year-old, who won the Cheltenham Champion Hurdle back in March, was making a season debut in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle.

And jockey Barry Geragthy had very little work to do as the 1-6 favourite effortlessly saw off runner-up Irving (9-2) and third-placed Flying Tiger (9-1).

“It was really good, Geraghty told At The Races. “His jumping is just… he’s rapid.

“If you look over the years at the real champion hurdlers with Istabraq, Hurricane Fly, Hardy Eustace… they just bend their knees. They gain ground but they also get to fill up their lunges because it’s so natural and easy for them.

I rode him 10 days ago in Newbury and he worked nicely. He worked on Sunday morning and Nicky was buzzing about him. He was very happy with his weight, which is a good indication.

“He was the same weight today as he was going to Aintree at the end of the season so he holds his condition well through the season and you were fairly sure he was close enough to being ready. He was in great shape and it was a good performance.”

On a showdown with 2015 Champion Hurdle winner Faugheen, who made a long-awaited comeback last month, Geraghty added: “He looked very good at Punchestown and he feels more physical this year than last year so I’ll relish the challenge.”

The42 has just published its first book, Behind The Lines, a collection of some of the year’s best sports stories. Pick up your copy in Eason’s, or order it here today (€10):

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Ben Blake

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