Binocular fighting fit for return

BINOCULAR will get the chance to erase the memory of last year’s no-show when he lines up in the stanjames.com Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newbury today.

The reigning champion hurdler looked set to spend the weekend in his stable at home after the cold weather claimed Newcastle’s card, but Newbury have stepped into the breach to provide the six-year-old with a perfect comeback opportunity.

Trainer Nicky Henderson was one of the most vocal in calling for a switch to the Berkshire track after snow put paid to events at Gosforth Park, and he is looking to his stable star to better last year’s bitterly disappointing fifth in the Grade One heat.

Henderson said: “We’re delighted and grateful the race is on — more than anything racing deserves to have the race.

“Let’s hope it’s a good race and we get the right result too.

“Everything has gone well, but no way in the world would I underestimate any of them, particularly Peddlers Cross and Starluck, who are very good horses in their own right.

“He’s very well and he’s sharp, a real sprint wouldn’t help Peddlers Cross or us, Starluck is the one that really has gears.

“The vibes have been right for the last fortnight and AP (McCoy) has been in a couple of times and schooled him.

“That is the acid test for the horse and that’s when he tells us where we are. His jumping was the one thing that wasn’t working last year, but it is now.

“He is quite heavy but you’d want him that way at the moment.

“He’s heavier than he was in the Champion Hurdle, but this isn’t the Champion Hurdle and March is still a long way away.’’

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