This year’s Boylesports.com International looks set to be another superb renewal, with reigning Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle victor Punjabi set to re-oppose Celestial Halo, who went down by a neck at last season’s Festival. Khyber Kim is also set to return to Cheltenham after his success in the Greatwood Hurdle at the Paddy Power meeting.
The two mile, one furlong, contest is a leading trial for the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle at The Festival in March and the highlight of the second and final day of the Boylesports International on Saturday, December 12.
Khyber Kim was given a masterful ride by Paddy Brennan in the Greatwood Hurdle on November 15, as the pair powered through the field to record a cosy two-length success over Harry Tricker in the competitive extended two-mile handicap.
The seven-year-old, who is trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies, will now bid to emulate subsequent Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle winner Rooster Booster and Detroit City , who both followed up success in the Greatwood Hurdle with victory in the Boylesports.com International in recent years.
Twiston-Davies reported today: “Khyber Kim is set to take his chance in the Boylesports.com International. We gave him an entry in the Ladbroke Hurdle at Ascot the following week but he is too highly rated to run there and I would like to see him back at Cheltenham.
“I was very pleased with his run in the Greatwood Hurdle and I thought that Paddy gave him an excellent ride - I certainly wasn’t expecting him to win when he was stuck out the back! “If the ground came up like it did at The Open, then it would be ideal for Khyber Kim - it’s a case of the softer the better for him - whereas it might not suit one or two of the others.
“He has always been a hard horse to get right but he seems very well in himself - he came out of the Greatwood Hurdle in great shape and we are very happy with him at the moment. We will be taking on some of the best hurdlers around this time but we need to find out how good he really is.”