Nicky Henderson admits he is facing a severe headache in keeping all his Champion Hurdle prospects apart during this wet winter.
While the trainer showed off three horses as possibilities for the williamhill.com Christmas Hurdle at Kempton as part of a press visit to his stable, Binocular appears the only one of the trio to be a certain runner there. JP McManus' slick gelding has landed the Grade One twice in a row, beating Rock On Ruby last Boxing Day before finishing fourth to him in the Champion itself.
"He'll definitely go straight to Kempton - he's in good form and might have a racecourse gallop," Henderson said.
From there, it gets tricky for a handler who has taken the Cheltenham crown five times already. Another of owner JP McManus' stars Darlan, who was second in the Supreme and then a winner at Aintree, has missed one possible outing because of the deep going at Cheltenham's Open meeting, and may lose out again in Saturday's StanJames.com Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle.
Henderson said: "I was talking to AP McCoy and we don't think he likes soft ground so we'd be loathe to run him at Newcastle. Even if it was called off and moved to Newbury, as they have done before, it would be heavy ground there too. I'm not sure JP would want to run them both at Kempton either. It's an impossible situation."
The trainer has pencilled in Grandouet for next month's StanJames.com International Hurdle at Cheltenham, the scene of his most recent outing and victory almost 12 months ago.
Henderson said: "Grandouet worked really well this morning and will go to Cheltenham. He injured a near-hind joint, but Barry Geraghty sat on him last week and said he felt great. If he runs at Cheltenham, he wouldn't go to Kempton."
Henderson pitched another smart hurdler into the mix in Cash And Go, who was second in the valuable handicap at the Open on his debut since leaving Edward O'Grady.
"I think he might be worth another run in a good handicap, so will go for the Ladbroke at Ascot, I suppose," he said.
Oscar Whisky will again run in the Relkeel Hurdle at next month's Cheltenham meeting.
12 December 2013Pulses set racing at Newcastle
'Nasty cut' for Alexander
Bolger back on cross-country trail
Theatre puts on Peterborough show
Artiste draws away from rivals
National hero lined up for Wetherby
Tizzard using Hennessy as a Guide
Dr Turner to leave BHA role
Whisky out for early redemption
Spirit going for golden double
Break for Balder after Sandown run
No problems at Kempton
McCoy wants rain for Fishers
McCoy mulls Gold decision
Butler appeals five-year ban
Burgoyne to take Triumph test
Fog claims Kempton card
Honeyball upbeat despite Regal loss
Byron has more targets overseas
O'Meara considers Ascot raid
Johnson excited by Captain's return
African reverts to timber
Return to Oz is Simenon's goal
11 December 2013Kempton hope for third-time lucky
McNeile leaves Cheltenham role
Kempton to inspect again
Fog claims Lingfield card
Three held over £2.4m VAT fraud
Home Farm denied Gold run
Three held in tax probe
BHA's Brickell at corruption summit
Hills has Smart purring
McCoy praise for retired Binocular
St Nick continues recovery fight
Big guns remain in Navan feature
New course key for Attaglance
Diakali team consider Relkeel run
Ruby given chase entry
Star pair head International list
10 December 2013Binocular bows out
Rock team plan positive tactics
Gold fails to sparkle
Regal takes Hexham test
Thyestes aim for Cootamundra
Walsh sweet on Arvika switch
Walters to present McNamara cheque
Aintree aim for Busy
Grand National aim for Your Busy
Walters to present McNamara cheque
Four-star Harley at Wolverhampton
Jacob all set for Al Ferof
Sprinter prospect exciting Kempton
Winner a Strongpoint for Crawford
Hurricane honoured in HRI awards
Ground key to Topper plans
African chasing Uttoxeter spoils
Prince set for Cheltenham Gold run
Betfair goal for Trouble
9 December 2013Drowne waits on X-ray news
Swan delighted with Changer
Wolverhampton to replace surface
Russell aims for Thursday return
Bright start for New Dawn
Twin lights up Hilly Way
Durkan stroll for Arvika
Unioniste has Lexus aim
New One heading to International
Drowne in hospital after fall
Baby in running for Warwick
Moore sets sights on Kempton
Cloud and Lantern sunk in Mile