FUSIL RAFFLES is set to make his long-awaited return in the Unibet Elite Hurdle at Wincanton on Saturday.
Nicky Henderson’s exciting prospect hasn’t been seen since an emphatic victory at the Punchestown Festival.
That performance followed on from a phenomenal display in the Adonis at Kempton, and there’s little doubt he remains one of the most promising hurdlers in training.
Henderson said in his stable tour: “I was nicely surprised by the ease of his victory in the Adonis and he unfortunately had to miss Cheltenham and Aintree as he skinned his hind leg so badly at Kempton.
“He was given a super ride by Daryl Jacob to win the Grade 1 Champion Four Year Hurdle at Punchestown and I think there is further improvement to come from him this winter.
“The Champion Hurdle would have to come on the radar.”
First up, though, he’ll have to take care of a hot field at Wincanton, which includes recent Cheltenham winner Quel Destin.
Paul Nicholls’ four-year-old was strongly fancied for last year’s Triumph Hurdle and showed he’s back with a bang at the Showcase meeting last month.
Nicholls has also enteredGrand Sancy,who’ll bid to bounce back from a fall in Listed company at Kempton last time, andChristopher Wood, third in last season’s 4yo Juvenile Hurdle at Aintree.
Swinton Hurdle winnerLe Patriotecould seek to land a four-timer upped in grade for trainer Dr Richard Newland, whose horses are in a rich vein of form.
Beat The Judge, Brandon CastleandTop Beakcomplete the possible line-up.