Trained by Nicky Henderson and carrying the famous green and gold colours of J. P. McManus, he faces some top quality rivals in the £100,000 bet365 Morebattle Hurdle, a race his Berkshire trainer has landed three times.
Once more, reports Gordon Brown, there will be a £100,000 bonus, scooped last year by The Shunter, should the winner go on to win, a hurdle or a chase, at the Cheltenham Festival.
Set to shoulder top-weight of 11st 12lb, Nico de Boinville-ridden Buveur d’Air takes on some classy opposition, including Harry Fry’s Metier, a Grade 1 novice winner, and Favoir, who was third in last year’s Morebattle Hurdle for Dan and Harry Skelton.
The supporting races feature the Grade 2 bet365 Premier Novices’ Hurdle and the Listed bet365 Premier Chase, both worth £50,000.
North Lodge, unbeaten in two starts over timber including in this company, is a first runner at Kelso for Scots-born Wiltshire handler Alan King in the Premier Hurdle.
Olly Murphy-trained Itchy Feet, a Grade 1 winner over fences in 2020, takes on the likes of Kim Bailey’s Espoir de Romay in the Premier Chase.