Henderson pair could land a festive double

BUVEUR D'Air will face a maximum of seven rivals when he bids for back-to-back wins in the Grade One Christmas Hurdle at Kempton on Boxing Day.

Dual Champion Hurdle hero Buveur D'Air heads the field for the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton on Boxing Day.

Nicky Henderson’s dual Champion Hurdle winner looked better when winning his second Fighting Fifth at Newcastle at the start of the month, putting Irish challenger Samcro in his place with a dominant display.

He is already odds-on with most bookmakers to become the first horse since the great Istabraq to win three Champion Hurdles at Cheltenham in March.

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Henderson has also entered his high-class mare Verdana Blue, who finished second in a Listed contest on the Flat at Kempton on her latest outing.

Grade One honours are also up for grabs in the 32Red Kauto Star Novices’ Chase – formerly known as the Feltham.

This three-mile contest has attracted 12 entries after the race was reopened, with Henderson’s exciting prospect Santini the likely headline act.

Meanwhile Bingley trainer Sue Smith’s Vintage Clouds is one of 31 entries the Coral Welsh Grand National at Chepstow next Thursday.

The Danny Cook-ridden grey was fourth in the latest renewal of the marathon to the veteran Raz De Maree who was victorious under 16-year-old jockey James Bowen.

Heading the weights is Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Ballyoptic from the Venetia Williams pair of Yala Enki and Otago Trail.

Along with Raz De Maree, there is further Irish interest in Baie Des Iles for Ross O’Sullivan and Folsom Blue for Gordon Elliott.

Ladbrokes Trophy winner Sizing Tennessee – so impressive at Newbury under Tom Scudamore – has been taken out by trainer Colin Tizzard who could still run Elegant Escape who was second in that race.