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Stan James Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy preview and selections

Barry Geraghty riding Buveur D'air (credit: Cheltenhampro.com)

In a sub-standard renewal of hurdling’s Blue Riband, the spotlight is on Yanworth to prove he has the speed and jumping ability to beat the specialist two-milers over the minimum trip.

He is unbeaten since finishing second to Yorkhill in last year’s Neptune Investment Novices’ Hurdle over further but has been unspectacular in victories at Kempton and Wincanton, though does appear to have the beating of The New One, Ch'tibello and Sceau Royal.

The decision to switch BUVEUR D’AIR back to hurdles can pay dividends for Nicky Henderson as he was always cantering at Ascot last month and had high-class form over the smaller obstacles last season, finishing third behind Altior in the Supreme Novices’ before edging out Petit Mouchoir in a Grade 1 at Aintree - the latter has beaten Footpad twice in Ireland recently.

Brain Power and My Tent Or Yours are both stablemates of the selection but the former takes a steep rise in class and the latter is a light of former days. Wicklow Brave is usually found wanting at this level but the novice Moon Racer is a potential fly in the ointment as he won the Champion Bumper here in 2015 and beat the smart Ballyandy on his hurdling debut.

Recent Kelso scorer Cyrius Darius is a Grade 2 winner but would be a shock victor.



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Stan James Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy preview and selections

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