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Friday 9 December 2016

Peace threat to Faugheen

Peace & Co
Peace & Co

Nicky Henderson believes Triumph Hurdle winner Peace And Co could be the main threat to Faugheen's Champion Hurdle crown this season.

Peace And Co led home a pair of stablemates in Top Notch and Hargam in the juvenile championship and while he feels it would be asking a bit much of that pair to beat Willie Mullins' unbeaten champion, the Seven Barrows handler has high hopes for Peace And Co.

"I hope (he can give Faugheen a race). He's a powerful beast of a horse for a four-year-old," said Henderson.

"Four-year-oldd tend not to have a great record out of their own age group and in the Champion Hurdle the following year but we did it with See You Then and Binocular did all right.

Gross

"He isn't the most forward of all our horses, for no other reason than he's big, gross, strong and well.

"We've got My Tent Or Yours to come into the equation I'm glad to say, and I don't think Hargam is far behind them, given good ground at least.

"So there's quite a hand to play in races the Fighting Fifth, the International, the race at Haydock (Betfair Price Rush) and the Christmas Hurdle.

"Last year Faugheen was coming over and giving us a fairly good thumping but this year I'm hoping, with Hurricane Fly retired, Willie can keep him in Ireland and we can concentrate on England until Cheltenham.

"I think the Triumph Hurdle horses these days are two-milers, not like the old days. Peace And Co and Hargam definitely are but Top Notch finished second (ahead of Hargam) because the ground turned soft and stamina came into play.

"I adore Top Notch but on good ground Hargam would beat him but on soft ground Top Notch would beat Hargam and will definitely finish up over a longer distance.

"I'll be surprised if Peace And Co ever ends up over three miles.

"Peace And Co might be something very, very special. Top Notch is a horse I love but he'd never beat Faugheen, Peace And Co could."

My Tent Or Yours was second in the 2014 Champion Hurdle to Jezki after pulling hard for the first half of the race, and Henderson feels Barry Geraghty could gel better with him than the retired AP McCoy.

"My Tent tested AP to the core and he was the greatest but a lot of jockeys have different styles. In saying that Barry rode him twice in bumpers and managed to get him beaten twice which was rather expensive for us as we thought he was rather good," Henderson said.

"At the moment he's very relaxed at home and Freddie Mitchell, who is our conditional, rides him and you could ride him on a piece of string but when he gets to a racecourse I fear he will go back to his old habits but we'll try everything to make sure he doesn't."

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