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Huge Shock as Binocular Misses Champion Hurdle

Fans and backers of Nicky Henderson’s long-time ante-post favourite Binocular woke up to a massive shock on Sunday morning with the news that last year’s winner will miss Tuesday’s Stan James Champion Hurdle, writes Elliot Slater.



The revelation has come as a bolt out of the blue in racing tips for today, for racing fans having been given no prior indication that there was any problem whatsoever with the JP McManus-owned gelding. Henderson revealed that Binocular had developed an allergy a couple of weeks ago and was given routine treatment to which he responded, but after checking to see that the drugs used to treat the condition had dissipated, Henderson and his team of vets were stunned to find that traces of the medication remained active in the seven-year-old’s system.

In view of the difficulties Henderson experienced last year when his license was suspended due to the administration of a banned substance to one of his horses, the Seven Barrows handler immediately contacted the BHA and worked in consultation with their veterinary advisors in the hope that Binocular’s system would clear in time. Sadly, it hasn’t, and a clearly deflated Henderson has revealed to the press that last year’s champion will be unable to defend his title on Tuesday.

A number of major betting companies have already announced that they will refund all bets on Binocular (something they are not obliged to do), and with his defection from the two-mile hurdles championship race along with that of Alan King’s Salden Licht at Sunday’s final declaration stage, there will now be a field of just 11 bidding to be crowned the new champion.

The mantle of ante-post favourite has been passed to Philip Hobbs’ Menorah, who is generally quoted in betting tips as 3/1 market leader. Hurricane Fly is offered at 7/2, Peddlers Cross can be backed at 4/1, and they go 8/1 bar.

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