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Binocular poised for Irish Champion

Binocular looks set to make his seasonal reappearance in the BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown on January 27.

Winner of the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in 2010, the Nicky Henderson-trained nine-year-old has not run since finishing fourth in last year's Festival renewal to Rock On Ruby.

He is owned by JP McManus, whose retained rider Tony McCoy wrote in his column in the Telegraph: "It appears that Binocular, a horse for whom I have a huge soft spot having won the 2010 Champion Hurdle on him, now looks likely to make his reappearance in the Irish Champion Hurdle, at Leopardstown, on Jan 27."

He added: "I am really looking forward to riding him again. He has not run since last year's Champion Hurdle, when we finished fourth, but he is ready to go."

Henderson is also responsible for another smart McManus hurdler in Darlan, who was impressive in winning the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton last time out.

McCoy said: "Darlan will probably now go to the Contenders Hurdle at Sandown the weekend after.

"No matter how they run, I expect it will come down to the usual dilemma of choosing between being loyal to an old favourite or siding with a young improver. I will let you know my decision when I have made it - about two days before the Champion Hurdle."


From Belfast Telegraph