Trainer Nicky Henderson narrowly missed out on victory in the Paddy Power Gold Cup with Barbers Shop, and he was similarly thwarted when Aigle D'Or found Numide too good in the Greatwood Handicap Hurdle. Conceding 16lb to the winner, Aigle D'Or put up a fine effort and was only beaten a head by the Gary Moore-trained winner. Aigle D'Or, who is owned by J P McManus, won twice last season, but then ran disappointingly at the Cheltenham Festival when 13th of 15 in the Ballymore Properties Novices' Hurdle.
This performance just could be enough to persuade connections that a tilt at the Champion Hurdle just might me worth a punt.
Henderson said: "He got there and he hit the front, so you can't say he ran a bad race. It's very pleasing that he's got over the little blip at the Festival.
"I don't know what we'll do with him now. He goes in soft, but probably needs a stiffer test of stamina - I'm not saying he wants further, but he wants a true-run two miles. AP [McCoy]s said he could have done with a stronger gallop over this trip. "Soft ground is very important. Put it this way, he isn't going to win the Swinton Hurdle [run at Haydock in May when the ground is likely to be on the fast side]."