Connections of Binocular are expecting a big run from the 2010 Champion Hurdle winner, who was unable to defend his crown 12 months ago.
The JP McManus-owned eight-year-old landed the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton before supplementing that with victory in the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton last month.
“I know AP (McCoy) came back happy after Wincanton and I was thrilled. He looked like his old self the way he jumped,” said trainer Nicky Henderson.
“He has got to be back where he was (to win), but it was the positive vibes that told us he was something near the same horse. It has put us right in the mix.”
Binocular’s regular partner Tony McCoy was also delighted with the Wincanton performance and is looking forward to taking on Hurricane Fly at Cheltenham.
“He jumped very well at Wincanton. At times he has never given the impression he’s the same horse that won the Champion Hurdle,” said the champion jockey.
“His run at Kempton (in the Christmas Hurdle) was better but he gave me a better feel at Wincanton.
“I think he’s got a long way to go to beat Hurricane Fly, he’s an exceptional horse who has won 10 Grade Ones and never looked like getting beat.
“But it is Cheltenham, and at Wincanton he felt better than he has done for a long time.”