Nicky Hendersons Binocular won the Boylesports International Hurdle in brilliant style on 20 Dec 08, leaving several of his Champion Hurdle rivals in his wake. Former Triumph Hurdle winner, Celestial halo set a blistering pace and had gone several lengths clear at the turn, but jockey, Tony McCoy refused to panic on Binocular and gradually stepped up the speed. He effectively coasted home in a manner that suggests very strongly that he just has to turn up at Cheltenham to claim the Champion Hurdle. The performance will certainly have put off several other contenders.
Celestial Halo, who was the outsider of the five runners finished second, with Hendersons other entrant, Chomba Womba third ahead of 2008 Champion Hurdle winner, Katchit. Crack Away Jack finished last.
These are worrying times for Alan King, trainer of Katchit, who has seen his horse go backwards since winning the Champion Hurdle in March, he has been out three times so far this season and failed to win on each occasion.
Bookmakers were quick to react to Binoculars success and have shortened his odds to around the 6/4 mark for the Cheltenham opening day feature.