The New One Unibet Hurdle
£47,250 added,
Haydock Park 14:40
4yo plus,
1m 7f 144y, Class 1  
Saturday 23rd January 2021

1 Navajo Pass 4/1
2 Buveur DAir 8/11F
3 Ballyandy
3 ran Distances: 4¼l, 14l
Time: 4m 6.58s (slow by 27.58s)

All the pre-race focus was on the return of the dual Champion Hurdle winner, but he had to play second fiddle to Donald McCain's horse in the race who made this a real test from the front end.

The 149-rated Navajo Pass, who was giving Buveur D'Air 3lb, responded willingly to the pressure applied by Sean Quinlan and was a four-and-a-quarter length winner at the line.

A thrilled McCain said of his Sean Quinlan-ridden winner: “He’s going to be a very smart horse.

“This is a season where you usually get lost a bit because it’s his first season out of juvenile hurdles. We’ve been running in handicaps with huge weights and today he was taking on two horses that were twice his age!

“It’s hard, but we knew he was fit, we knew he could jump and we knew he was in good nick after winning up at Musselburgh.

“We could have floated round for third, but I spoke to Tim (Leslie, owner) before and we said we’d take a punt and make it a test and see what happens.

“We were obviously counting on Buveur D’Air needing the run in bad old Haydock ground. To get the old horse back from the injury he had is a big effort from Nicky and his team.

“We just came here thinking there was nowhere else to go before the spring festivals and it’s worked out.”

Trainers Quotes

Navajo Pass is not entered in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Asked whether supplementing was a possibility, McCain added: “We’ll speak to Tim. I don’t think he’s a Champion Hurdle horse – I don’t think he’s got the natural speed for a Champion Hurdle, but I might be wrong.

“My first thoughts were he’s going to be more suited to Aintree, if anywhere. I know Tim likes Aintree and we love Aintree, obviously.

“We’ll just enjoy today for now. I can’t emphasise enough that he’s next year’s horse.”

Trainers Quotes

Henderson said: “Of course we’re disappointed, but the winner set a really good gallop and I think they were going as fast as they could behind him, to be honest.

“It looked as though he (Buveur D’Air) was going to get there comfortably, but when he got to the last he just had a big blow.

“That ground is not for him, but he’s done well and his jumping was as good as ever – he jumped every hurdle like he used to.

“I’d expect him to come on hugely. He’ll definitely still go for the Champion Hurdle and he won’t run beforehand.”


The New One Unibet Hurdle
(Registered As The Champion Hurdle Trial Hurdle)
£47,250 added, 4yo plus, 1m 7f 144y, Class 1
3 ran
Going: Heavy

1      Navajo Pass 5 11-7 Donald McCain Sean Quinlan 4/1
Buveur D'Air 10 11-4 Nicky Henderson Nico de Boinville 8/11F
14 Ballyandy 10 11-10 Nigel Twiston-Davies Sam Twiston-Davies 5/2