Successful op boosts Grandouet’s Champion Hurdle chances

Champion Hurdle contender Grandouet could still make the Cheltenham Festival after undergoing a successful operation on Tuesday night.

The five-year-old, trained by Nicky Henderson, was to have had a prep run for next month’s Stan James-sponsored race at Cheltenham in the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton on Saturday.

However, he was withdrawn from the race at the 24-hour final declaration stage after having banged his leg in his box on Thursday night.

Henderson said: “He had a bit of surgery last night to flush an infected hind fetlock joint. It’s a peculiar one, it’s not everyday stuff, there’s no wound or anything.

“We had to flush out a bit of infection inside the joint, rather than outside it, and that all went well. As a consequence he was much more comfortable this morning. He’s walking sound on it.

“We can’t do anything more today. At this stage he hasn’t missed anything significant because on Friday when he was first lame he had a day off and then Saturday and he did actually have a couple of days swimming.

“Unfortunately it reacted yesterday. We’ll just have to monitor it and see how we get on. We have to give it every chance and we will keep everybody absolutely posted on what we are doing.

“We have relieved the pressure on it and, if that holds, he was very fit last Thursday and at the moment we are not missing anything.

“It will become a concern, obviously, and you can only have so many days off at this stage, but as long as he is working by this weekend we are still in action and we’ve still got a chance.

“He’s not as sore as he was, and as long as the infection can be controlled, we’ve still got a realistic chance.”