Silver Streak primed for Fighting Fifth Battle
Welsh handler Evam Williams reports Silver Streak to be in fine fettle ahead of crack at the Grade 1 Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastlem but is under no illusion of the stiff task he faces in lowering the colours of the mighty Buveur D’Air.
The 2m contest run on Saturday, November 30, has an illustrious roll of honour and seven horses remain in it following the five-day declaration stage.
Among the is six-year-old Silver Streak who developed into a top class performer last season, finishing a fine second in the Grade 2 International Hurdle at Cheltenham in December and a cracking 15 1/4 length third of 10 to the ill-fated espoir D’Allen in the Grade 1 Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
The son of Dark Angel was then not at his best when a well-beaten fifth in a Grade 1 at the Aintree Grand National Festival but looked as good as ever on seasonal reappearance at Kempton last month when easily landing a Listed contest by eight lengths.
“Silver Streak is grand. He really enjoyed himself at Kempton and came out of the race fine. <…> It was a lovely race to start him off in and, given how tough some of his assignments were last season, it was very nice to go and get his head in front.”
“This weekend is going to be another tough assignment. I think anyone who thinks Buveur D’Air is not the horse he was needs their head checked. With Silver Streak, I never thought we had a horse who would be competing in G1 hurdles and there is no point pretending that I did.”
“We are very grateful to be taking part in a race like this against a horse like Buveur D’Air, who for me has never had the recognition he deserves. He is a dual Champion Hurdle winner and it is a joy to be competing against a horse like him.”
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Buveur D’air Clear on Ratings
Buveur D’Air is aiming for a third successive victory in the two-mile highlight, a feat that would emulate the great Comedy Of Errors who landed three consecutive renewals between 1972 and 1974. Birds Nest is the only other three-time winner, scoring in 1976, 1977 and 1979.
The JP McManus owned gelding fell when going for an historic third win in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in March, but ended the campaign on a high with success in the Grade 1 Champion Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival when beatring Supasundae by 2 1/2 lengths… The eight-year-old is rated 167 and that gives him 13lb in hand on main market rival Silver Streak.
Not surprisingly, then, he is long odds-on to make a winning return to action, and if successful will provide Seven Barrows handler Henderson with an unprecedented sixth Betfair Fighting Fifth Hurdle.
On all known form the race is his to lose and victory would cement his position at the head of the betting for the 2020 Champion Hurdle.
The remaining entries also include Phil Kirby’s talented prolific winning mare Lady Buttons, who made a successful return this term in a Liste[p’d mares’ hurdle at Wetherby earlier in the month
Tony Carroll’s Nelson River, who finished fourth in the Grade 1 Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival last season, is one of two four-year-olds in the race alongside Nigel Twitson-Davies’ French import Zambella.
Eye-catching Wetherby handicap hurdle victor Cornerstone Lad (Micky Hammond) and Cool Mix (Iain Jardine) also remain engaged.