HORSE RACING: Henderson pays tribute to Binocular

Swindon Advertiser: Lambourn trainer Nicky Henderson Lambourn trainer Nicky Henderson

NICKY Henderson has described Binocular as “bang top class” after having to retire the former Champion Hurdle winner.

Binocular, who captured hurdling’s Blue Riband crown in 2010, has been retired after being diagnosed with a heart problem.

The nine-year-old failed to sparkle in two outings last season but Lambourn trainer Henderson believes those performances can now be explained following the latest news.

Henderson said: “Extensive tests have been done on him and it appears he has a heart issue that is not going away so the decision was taken to retire him.

“I think you would have to conclude that there was something underlying that we couldn’t detect that would easily explain some of last season’s performances.’ While success in the Champion Hurdle was the gelding’s finest hour, he scored 11 times in total over timber and collected Kempton’s Christmas Hurdle on two occasions as well as a Grade One juvenile event at Aintree and the International when it was rescheduled at Ascot in 2008.

Binocular, who was last seen finishing 28 lengths behind Hurricane Fly in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in March, had not returned to training this season while he underwent tests in Ireland.

Henderson added: “When he was right he was a very good horse, absolutely bang top class.

“He won a Champion Hurdle and probably should have won three.”

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