14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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Darlan set for Christmas crackerHeadlines

Darlan will carry the colours of JP McManus in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton on Boxing Day in the absence of dual winner Binocular.

The Nicky Henderson-trained Darlan was due to make his seasonal reappearance in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle earlier this month but missed that race on account of the testing conditions.

McManus' racing manager, Frank Berry, said: "Darlan is in good form and we're looking forward to get him out. He'll definitely run at Kempton all going well and we just hope the ground isn't too testing for him."

Of stablemate Binocular, Berry said: "He's fine, but he's just not quite ready yet. Hopefully he'll be ready to start off early in the new year, but we've not made any definite plans at this stage."

McManus could still be double-handed in the Christmas Hurdle, with Get Me Out Of Here also engaged.

Berry said: "Plans are up in the air for him and it depends on the ground."

Fighting Fifth Hurdle one-two Countrywide Flame and Cinders And Ashes are in the mix, although the former is also entered at Leopardstown over the Festive period.

Champion trainer Paul Nicholls has smart novice Dodging Bullets and the consistent Brampour entered, while Henderson could call upon Punjabi, sidelined by injury for almost 1000 days.

The 11 entries are completed by Cotton Mill, Mad Moose, Qalinas and Raya Star.

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