Vets are 'very pleased' with the progress of dual Champion Hurdle winner Buveur D'Air as he continues to take small steps in his recovery from a freak foot injury.

Missing from the list of 36 entries for the day one feature, which were released earlier this week, the nine-year-old will not race again this season.

After he was defeated at very short odds in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle on November 30, Nicky Henderson's stable stalwart had surgery to remove a piece of wood from his off-fore hoof.

The splinter became embedded when he hit the second-last flight, scuppering his bid to win the race for the third year running.

Nicky Henderson said earlier this week that the vets are happy with Buveur D'Air's progress.

Nicky Henderson and Buveur D'Air, pictured in February 2019

"It's all going well," he said from Newbury on Wednesday.

"He's just over the road there, at Donnington Grove vets.

"AP (McCoy) went to see him earlier this week. He has a band over the foot as they are trying to get it to grow across.

"It's all wrapped up in bandages.

Noel Fehily steered Buveur D'Air to victory in the 2017 Champion Hurdle

"He goes out for a little lead out every day. He's walking well.

"They are very pleased with the way it's going."

Leading owner JP McManus will be going for his fourth win in a row in the Unibet-sponsored contest on March 10.

He may be missing his ace in the pack, but ante-post favourite Epatante has impressed onlookers this season.

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Henderson intends to run all five of his entries to compete for a total prize fund of more than £450,000.

One of them, Pentland Hills, takes on the McManus dark horse Darasso at Haydock on Saturday, a hurdler untested in Grade One company.

The Seven Barrows list is completed by Fusil Raffles, Verdana Blue and Call Me Lord.