Henderson expects Punjabi progress

Nicky Henderson expects Champion Hurdler Punjabi to improve for the run ahead of Saturday’s Boylesports.com International at Cheltenham.

Having skipped the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle with the six-year-old, Henderson opted to give him an extra couple of weeks.

While the Seven Barrows handler believes Punjabi is ready for the race, he does believe the run will bring him on.

“He’s in good form. We swapped him and Binocular around a couple of weeks ago because he wasn’t ready to run in the Fighting Fifth, which is the route he’s taken before,” said Henderson.

“That plan backfired as far as Binocular was concerned, but I just needed another couple of weeks with him and that has gone well.

“He’s a notoriously stuffy individual but he’s done plenty of work now. I have to say I think he’ll come on for the run but he’s ready to go.

“Celestial Halo has already run this season which is a big advantage at this time of year and we all know the Champion Hurdle is in March not December, but this is a big, recognised race for this time of the year.

“He’s got to carry his Grade One penalty, but in fairness quite a few of them have,” he told At The Races.

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