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Binocular Misses Champion Hurdle Defence

Nicky Henderson has been dealt a hammer blow with the news that Binocular will miss Tuesday's Stan James Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham.



The current champion had been heading the ante-post market at around the 7-2 mark just hours before Sunday's declaration time. The JP McManus-owned gelding was treated for an allergy two weeks ago and did not respond to initial medication and required further treatment.

Unfortunately Binocular then tested positive for a substance and on the British Horseracing Authority's advice, Henderson was forced to withdraw the horse. In a statement to Press Association Sport, Henderson said: "We have very regretfully had to decide not to declare Binocular for Tuesday's Champion Hurdle."

He added: "Binocular had an allergy two weeks ago that did not respond to initial medication and on veterinary advice and well within normal parameters he required a further treatment the following day.

"As we were getting close to the most important race of the year and also because since that administration to Binocular, another horse had tested positive for the same substance, I thought it prudent to take a precautionary test which not only surprisingly, let alone devastatingly, has also shown to be positive.

"We have therefore reluctantly had to take the BHA's advice this morning that the only reasonable course in everybody's interest is not to confirm the entry and he has consequently been withdrawn from the Champion Hurdle.

"We are all obviously shattered but I am particularly upset for JP (McManus) who has been incredibly understanding as I know how much this horse means to him."

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