Hurricane Fly Champion Hurdle favourite after Binocular shock

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Binocular has been pulled out of this week’s Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham after traces of legitimate veterinary medication were found to still be in his system.

Binocular – who’s trained by Nicky Henderson – underwent treatment for an allergy a fortnight ago and has been withdrawn after the British Horseracing Authority found the medication isn’t leaving his system as quickly as hoped.

A BHA statement read: “The Authority received an elective test request from Nicky Henderson this week. The results of those tests came through on Thursday and Binocular had a screening finding for a legitimate veterinary medication.

“We all wanted to give Binocular every chance to run, both from connections’ point of view and also thinking of those that had backed him for the Champion Hurdle, therefore over the weekend HFL tested further samples.

“The results of those tests were still positive. We advised Nicky Henderson and his vets of this result on Saturday night and, bearing in mind that against expectations the levels of the substance were remaining constant, the clear advice was that Binocular would test positive on raceday.

“We were informed following a further conference call with connections this morning that they had therefore decided not to declare the horse.

“This is obviously bitterly disappointing for connections and also for backers of Binocular, but based on all the information to hand it is the only decision that could be taken in the interests of both the horse and the integrity of the sport.”

Binocular was the antepost favourite at 5/2 but, since his withdrawal was announced, Hurricane Fly has taken top billing and is now the 3/1 favourite. Menorah has been installed as second in the betting at 10/3.

Hurricane Fly is currently 3/1 to win the Champion Hurdle. A £25 bet on that would provide a £75 profit. New customers can sign up here for a free £25 bet.

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