Binocular will have to produce his best run of the season if he is to make it back-to-back victories in the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
Nicky Henderson’s horse destroyed a decent field to land the two-mile showpiece last March and is 5/2 in the Champion Hurdle betting to land the spoils again.
However, jockey Tony McCoy believes that this is a tougher renewal than 12 months ago and knows that the horse will have to be at his best to enter the winners’ enclosure at Cheltenham.
McCoy told At The Races: “It looks a better race than last year with the likes of Hurricane Fly, Peddlers Cross and Oscar Whisky in there.
“I think it is a real good race so he needs to perform to the standard of last year if he is to win again.”
Binocular’s Cheltenham preparations have been less than ideal, finishing behind Peddlers Cross on his opening race of the season at Newbury.
Meanwhile, Binocular’s most recent run also failed to inspire confidence, when making hard work of beating three relative no hopers at Sandown last month.
Some punters will point to the fact that Binocular’s preparations last year were equally as average, before his jumping was as slick as ever on the day of the Champion Hurdle.
One of the biggest threats to Binocular is Hurricane Fly, who is seen to have all the ingredients to prevail in the Champion Hurdle.
Hurricane Fly is 5/1 in the Champion Hurdle betting and is also said to be a slick jumper, while additionally possessing strong finishing speed and an abundance of stamina, which has been shown in previous victories over 2m4f.
Willie Mullins’ horse also has no preference on the ground and can perform equally well in soft or form conditions.
The one question mark is how well he will take to the undulations and demands of Cheltenham on what will be his first appearance at the course.
A £25 stake on Hurricane Fly winning the Champion Hurdle would return £125. New customers can sign up here for a free £25 bet.