Brilliant Bino a Christmas cracker
Binocular put up a superb show of fast and accurate jumping to land the williamhill.com Christmas Hurdle at Kempton on Saturday in tremendous style.
The Champion Hurdle hero was ridden close to the pace set by Overturn for most of the way and had all his rivals in trouble as they turned into the straight in the rearranged Grade One event.
Overturn stuck on well, but Binocular (13-8 favourite) skipped over the last two flights under Tony McCoy and was not pressed to win by three and three-quarter lengths, with Starluck in third.
McCoy said: "He's getting there. His hurdling was pretty accurate off a good gallop on testing ground.
"I still think it's a good bit below his Champion Hurdle performance, but it was an improvement on Newbury (third in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle), which is what we wanted.
"He was fresh and buzzy the last day, and any horse that wins a two-mile championship race at Cheltenham must be a good stayer. He travels but he definitely stays, and I didn't want to be too far off Overturn in that ground."
Trainer Nicky Henderson added: "I thought this could be another day where we still might get beaten as it's a track that favours the speed horses - but to win like that, I'm very impressed.
"We're getting to where we want to be and I think we will stick to the plan and go for the Contenders Hurdle at Sandown next."
Trainer Donald McCain said of Overturn, having his first start since disappointing when last in the Ebor at York last August: "We were delighted - he's a very tough horse.
"We could take a look at the Kingwell or the race at Sandown and if I didn't have Peddlers Cross, I'd be thrilled with this lad. He will come on a touch for the run."