Buveur D’Air is set to face four rivals as he bids to win the Betfair Fighting Fifth Hurdle for the third successive year at Newcastle on Saturday.
The dual Champion Hurdle hero may have fallen early on in last season’s renewal at Cheltenham, but the eight-year-old ended the campaign on a high with victory in the Punchestown version in early May.
Buveur D’Air’s latest assignment following his summer break is to try to give trainer Nicky Henderson a sixth success in the Gosforth Park showpiece.
His main rival is likely to be Silver Streak, who outran his odds of 80-1 to fill third place behind the ill-fated Espoir D’Allen in the Champion Hurdle.
Evan Williams’ stable star enjoyed a cosy triumph in a Listed contest at Kempton on his seasonal reappearance six weeks ago.
He will be ridden by Adam Wedge, who feels Silver Streak should not be under-estimated.
“It’s a big ask. Obviously Buveur D’Air is a very good horse, but our lad deserves to take his chance in a Grade One,” Wedge told Sky Sports Racing.
“He exceeded all of our expectations last year. We always hoped he’d be a good horse, but he kept progressing all the time and surprising us all the way along.
“First time out this year was a very good run and he seems to have filled out and grown up again, so hopefully he can go forward.”
Phil Kirby has decided to let his admirable mare Lady Buttons have a go at the big guns while Micky Hammond’s Cornerstone Lad takes the big step up in class from handicap company. Nelson River, trained by Tony Carroll, completes the quintet.