Binocular has been entered for the Chrismas Hurdle at Kempton on Boxing Day as connections hope to see an improvement in form from last year's Champion Hurdle winner. The Nicky Henderson horse won the big race at Cheltenham in March in superb fashion but disappointed on seasonal debut in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle last month to dent his chances of a repeat Champion Hurdle win. He was sent off as the warm favourite at Newbury in the Fighting Fifth but was soundly beaten by both Peddlers Cross and Starluck who is also engaged at Kempton on Sunday. We will learn plenty more about Binocular this weekend with connections expecting him to improve for the run last month, if he can reverse the form with Starluck he should go close to winning at Kempton and should put his Champion Hurdle claims back on track.
At the moment Binocular is considered very much a spring horse with his best form coming at Cheltenham in March as he showed last season, the bookies believe that to be the case and they still have him disputing favouritism with Menorah for the Champion Hurdle in March. That is despite his poor run last month leaving punters scratching their heads, the Champion Hurdle betting is already looking tight with Binocular and Menorah being joined towards the head of the market by Fighting Fifth Winner Peddlers Cross and the exciting Willie Mullins horse Hurricane Fly. If the top four contenders remain fit and on form by the time the Cheltenham Festival comes around in March it could prove to the most exciting race of the season from a fan and punters point of view. The Christmas Hurdle could prove to be a crucial race for Binocular as we learn if he really is in the shape needed to defend his title, and he will need to be at his very best at the Festival if he is to win with his three main rivals ready to pounce given the opportunity.