Buveur D'air and Altior give Henderson record-breaking start to Cheltenham
Nicky Henderson claimed two Cheltenham Festival records on the opening day of the 2017 event as Buveur D'air and Altior strode to victories in the Champion Hurdle and Arkle Challenge Trophy.
Henderson had tasted success in the two-and-a-half mile Champion Hurdle in 1985, 1986 and 1987 with See You Then, before following it up in 2009 with Punjabi and Binocular a year later.
He had to wait seven years to break the record, though, as the 5-1 shot Buveur D'air profited from Petit Mouchoir's fall to romp home under the guidance of Noel Fehily, securing a 50th Cheltenham win for owner JP McManus.
"All records are there to be broken. It's the horses and the people that make it. It's rather surreal really," Henderson told BBC Radio 5 live. "Of course it's special."
Buveur D'Air leads home a Nicky Henderson/JP McManus one-two as Noel Fehily's winning ride solves the Champion Hurdle puzzle pic.twitter.com/y6lCpSCoSa-- ITV Racing (@itvracing) March 14, 2017
Buveur D'air's win was the second celebration of the day for Henderson after he watched Nico de Boinville ride favourite Altior to victory in the Arkle Challenge Trophy - a record sixth win in that race for the trainer.
Willie Mullins' eight-year dominance of the Mares' Hurdle came to an end, though, as the trainer watched Apple Jade edge two of his horses - Vroum Vroum Mag and Limini - in a sprint for the line.
There was joy for France in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle and Handicap Chase as Labaik and Un Temps Pour Tout claimed victory, while Tiger Roll and Tully East were also victorious on day one.