Buzz camp line up Newbury challenge

Nicky Henderson’s Buzz is likely to have his next outing in the Betfair Hurdle.

The grey finished third on his first outing of the season in the Welsh Champion Hurdle behind Sceau Royal, before bolting up at Ascot in November by seven lengths.

Raised 11lb for that success, he went back to Ascot a month later for the Betfair Exchange Trophy and beat all bar a rejuvenated Not So Sleepy, who was receiving 6lb as he won the race for the second year in succession.

At the prospect of heading for Newbury’s big handicap on February 13, James Stafford, racing manager for Buzz’s owners Thurloe Thoroughbreds, said: “We haven’t fully made up our minds, but I think it’s more likely than not.

“The irony of his last run was that we were beaten by Hughie Morrison – who we bought Buzz off!


“I don’t think Buzz really saw the winner on the other side of the course. If we’d followed him through we might have been even closer, but he ran a blinder off top-weight.

“He’s been put him up another 4lb, and we don’t know the rider yet.

“We could claim off him. That has been mooted, because he’ll probably end up with top-weight.

“We’ll keep an eye on everything. It’s unlikely to dry out too much, but he does like soft ground.

“Top-weights don’t have a great record in the race – which is something else to consider.”

Stafford is mindful of a proliferation of dangerous opponents in what is always a hugely competitive race.

“You usually want to be a novice on the up,” he added.

“I suppose the ones who have stuck out so far have been Cadzand, who was impressive at Kempton, and maybe Llandinabo Lad.

“Of course there’s the Tolworth winner (Metier) too, who could run – so there are plenty to be wary of.

“So, we could use a conditional to take some weight off – but I haven’t discussed that with Nicky yet. I think there’s a fair chance he’ll run, though.”

Buzz is currently a 14-1 chance with the sponsors.

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