Buzz is growing that Nicky Henderson’s charge will be fit for Cheltenham Festival

Cesarewitch winner and former leading Stayers’ Hurdle hope Buzz will undergo the latest stage of his rehabilitation next week, according to trainer Nicky Henderson.

File photo dated 20-11-2021 of Buzz (left), who will undergo the next stage of his rehabilitation next week, according to trainer Nicky Henderson.
File photo dated 20-11-2021 of Buzz (left), who will undergo the next stage of his rehabilitation next week, according to trainer Nicky Henderson.

Buzz advertised his Cheltenham credentials when taking the Coral Hurdle at Ascot, but suffered a fractured pelvis ahead of a return to the Berkshire track for his next intended target, the Long Walk Hurdle.

Henderson is “hopeful” that the exciting grey will make a full recovery.

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He said: “Buzz is being a good patient. The view is to re-examine and re-scan that pelvis on Monday, or the beginning of next week.

Trainer Nicky Henderson.

“He is a lovely horse and he is having a boring time, poor boy, but he has been very good. So far, so good, but it is a long process.”

Henderson, who missed seeing Constitution Hill land the Tolworth Hurdle last weekend because he was self-isolating after contracting Covid-19, has been given the all-clear and is looking forward to getting out and about again.

“I’ve been box walking, but I’m feeling all right,” said Henderson. “Like Buzz, I’ve been very good and I’m being allowed out. In truth, they’ll be glad to get rid of me.”

Meanwhile conditional jockey Ned Fox is optimistic he can maintain his unbeaten record aboard Green Book by turning the “biggest ride of my career” into a triumphant one in the Coral Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle at Kempton today.

The 21-year-old has been given a chance to star on the big stage after being offered the ride on Green Book by trainer Venetia Williams.

Fox has so far partnered four winners under Rules and it will be the second time he has ridden Green Book in public, having previously steered the winner of last year’s Chester Plate – the consolation race for horses which fail to make the final field for the Chester Cup – to glory in a conditional jockeys’ handicap hurdle at Haydock last month.

The jockey said: “It is definitely the biggest ride of my career. I have to say a massive thank you to Venetia Williams and the owners for giving me the opportunity. The win at Chester on the Flat was a big win so he has some solid form behind him. If he shows anything like that in a race like this we are confident he will have a good chance.”

The race commemorates Lanzarote who was owned by Lord Howard de Walden and trained by Fred Winter. Triumphant in the 1974 Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, the horse won all of his eight starts at Kempton.

One of Fox’s rivals will be Jonjo O’Neill Jr, who rides Carys’ Commodity, trained by his father Jonjo. It is three years since O’Neill Jnr partnered Big Time Dancer to victory in the 2019 Lanzarote for Jennie Candlish and the jockey said: “It seems like quite a long time ago now, three years. I think it made a big difference to my career, especially as it wasn’t for dad either. It just got me a bit more noticed by having a big winner on a Saturday on ITV. It was a competitive race and it helped my career no end.”