Pentland Hills will line-up in the Unibet Champion Hurdle off the back of a breathing operation, trainer Nicky Henderson has announced.
The five year-old was unbeaten last season, landing Grade One victories in the Triumph Hurdle at last year’s Cheltenham Festival and at Aintree.
In an open year for the Champion Hurdle, Pentland Hills was expected to be a major contender but has flattered to deceive in two races thus far.
He looked set for victory in a Haydock Park Grade Two last month, but was caught on the line, with Henderson revealing that he has had a breathing operation since then.
Writing for his Unibet blog, he said: “It wasn’t done because he was making any noises, but it just occurred to us that it is something he can benefit from and it wouldn’t do any harm.
“At Cheltenham I just thought he needed the race, but in a funny way he came there again at Haydock travelling like the best horse in the race and looking as though it was all going to be very straight forward, but he didn’t finish his race as well as he should have done and got caught, albeit on bad ground, but often you find it possible that horses have problems in something like their soft palate which no one can see (or hear) even when they are scoped, so we have decided to do it.
“It might help, it might not, but it will do him no harm whatsoever so it’s worth a try and we’ll find out if it has worked when he runs in the Champion Hurdle.”