NICKY Henderson reports Buveur D’Air to be in tip-top condition as he bids to become the sixth horse to record three successive victories in the Unibet Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival on Tuesday.

Hatton’s Grace, Sir Ken, Persian War, See You Then and Istabraq have all achieved that feat, and Buveur D’Air could add his name to that exclusive list.

The eight-year-old suffered a rare reverse against stablemate Verdana Blue in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton, but got back on track in the Contenders Hurdle, winning the Sandown race for the third year running last month.

“I think I would be comfortable to say he is as good as we have had him all year,” said Henderson, who has maximum respect for the opposition, in particular Apple’s Jade and Laurina.

“Barry (Geraghty) came and schooled him and then rode him in a bit of work last week and thought he felt great - sometimes he tells me he doesn’t.

“It would be great if he could do it as he would join history if he could. I do think it is more competitive than last year, but I don’t think he was right last year.

“Our two biggest problems are undoubtedly the two Irish mares and they are getting 7lb. If the ground goes soft it will suit Buveur D’Air, but it will also suit Apple’s Jade and Laurina.

“Nothing changes on that front. Buveur D’Air has been in good form, but I am frightened of the two mares. I think Laurina might be the slower of the two and in that case Apple’s Jade is the one to beat.”

Henderson also saddles Verdana Blue and Brain Power.

“Verdana Blue did beat Buveur D’Air on fast ground at Kempton, but you will see a big turnaround on that,” said the Seven Barrows handler.

“Brain Power could be second best of our three. He could be a good little each-way bet.

“He was very good in the International and we have not run him since on purpose. They are not pacemakers, but that is not say they won’t go on if they have to.”