No Irish trip for Binocular

Nicky Henderson has ruled out taking Binocular to Ireland for his prep race before the Stan James Champion Hurdle.

The 2010 winner of the Cheltenham prize was forced to miss his intended run in the Contenders Hurdle at Sandown on Saturday when that meeting fell to the frost.

Now the Morebattle Hurdle at Kelso and Wincanton’s Kingwell Hurdle are under consideration, although the latter remains unlikely.

“I’m not particularly keen to go to Gowran. I was talking to JP (McManus) about it last night and the ground tends to be fairly soft over there at this time of year,” the trainer said.

“The Kingwell doesn’t suit me ideally because that’s where Grandouet is going and I’m not mad keen on them meeting at this stage because I don’t want a full-blooded battle so close to the Champion Hurdle.

“It’s probably quite important to get another run into Binocular, that’s what we’ve always said we wanted to do with him this year.”

Henderson issued an upbeat bulletin on Grandouet who won the Stan James International Hurdle at Cheltenham in December.

“He’s in good form. He worked on Friday and is all lined up for the Kingwell which is where he was always going to go,” the trainer said.

Colm Murphy meanwhile feels Voler La Vedette is better than she showed in defeat behind Zaidpour at Gowran last time out.

The mare had previously gained her first Grade One win in the Hatton’s Grace at Fairyhouse, before winning over Christmas at Leopardstown.

She was sent off odds-on to beat Zaidpour, but Ruby Walsh rode a canny race from the front and held a length advantage at the line.

However, Murphy said: “She ran too free the last day and she paid the penalty.

“If the race was run again we’d be hoping for a different result but she’s come out of it well and we’re happy with her.

“Early on she used to be very keen but she gives herself a chance now, that has helped her reach her potential and we’ve been delighted with her.

“She’s entered in the World Hurdle and she’ll have an entry in the mares’ race (at Cheltenham) but there’s a lot of water to pass under the bridge before then. We haven’t ruled either of them out,” he told At The Races.

Henderson hopes Sprinter Sacre will take a lead in the Betfair Super Saturday Chase at Newbury next weekend. The six-year-old has made a huge impression in two races over fences to date, slamming Peddlers Cross at Kempton on Boxing Day.

He is now a warm favourite for the Arkle Trophy at Cheltenham but is set to go in against more experienced rivals at the Berkshire track as the trainer is keen to educate his rising star.

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