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14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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Darlan claims Christmas crownHeadlines
Darlan is back with a bang in the Christmas Hurdle

Darlan (3-1) staked a massive claim for Champion Hurdle honours with an emphatic win in the williamhill.com Christmas Hurdle at Kempton.

The Nicky Henderson-trained five-year-old, owned by JP McManus, became a major contender for the Cheltenham Festival championship as he beat several other leading players in tremendous fashion.

There was all to play for with two flights to jump and it was Darlan who quickened impressively for Tony McCoy to stride away on the run to the last. He went on to win on his seasonal debut by four and a half lengths from Raya Star, with Dodging Bullets third and Countrywide Flame only fourth.

McCoy said: "The race was run at a slow pace and Nicky said to be aware and ride him handy. I was just keeping out of trouble and making sure he got a nice run. It's nice that he won and his jumping was pretty good on the whole.

"We will let Nicky decide (on plans) and speak to the boss (McManus). He will be pleased he won. He looks like a smart horse and I'm pleased we got him and no one else."

Henderson said: "We've always thought he had a lot of ability. That was a funny old race. I didn't expect Punjabi to make it (the running), but they might have been there all day if Barry (Geraghty) didn't take the lead.

"Although he (Darlan) was good at Aintree, you wouldn't think he'd be suited by a sprint, but he's beaten them fair and square. There's Grandouet and Binocular to fit in, but you'd think he'll have one more run before Cheltenham. I think he'll be a chaser one day, but that will come further down the line."

Alan King said of Raya Star: "I was delighted. I thought turning into the straight he'd be fifth or sixth, but he's outstayed them. We'll probably give him another run before the Champion Hurdle."

3 December 2016

As De Mee gives owner Dame Judi Dench a winner over the National fences
Un De Sceaux just betters Sire De Grugy in Tingle Creek epic
National hero Many Clouds back in business at Aintree
Kempton the next stop as Altior bandwagon gathers pace at Sandown
Vieux Lion Rouge denies Highland Lodge repeat success in Becher thriller
Evening Hush makes big noise at Aintree
Cole Harden second on fencing debut as Its'afreebee comes out on top
BHA withdraws disciplinary charges against Martin Harley
Festival winner Martello Tower off the mark over fences at Fairyhouse
Unbeaten Airlie Beach seeking Grade One gold in Royal Bond
Triumph Hurdle favourite Landofhopeandglory faces Fairyhouse test
Vroum Vroum Mag revved up for Hatton's Grace at Fairyhouse
Mouse Morris gives Alpha Des Obeaux a squeak in Fairyhouse Grade One
More Of That on recovery mission in Peterborough Chase
Precautionary inspection for Kelso Sunday fixture
Waitaki gives Pat Smullen a winning send off at Dundalk
Classy Messire Des Obeaux fires for Alan King at Sandown
The New One set to take on International Hurdle assignment
Faugheen earmarked for Christmas comeback
Oliver Sherwood 'very happy' as National winner Many Clouds returns to Aintree
Noel Fehily bowled over by Sandown-bound Altior
National king Mouse Morris on Aintree reconnaissance mission with Rogue Angel
Vroum Vroum Mag leads Hatton's Grace team for Willie Mullins
Ground poser as Un De Sceaux takes Tingle Creek test at Sandown
Henry de Bromhead has John Durkan target for Sub Lieutenant

2 December 2016

Joseph O'Brien claims Dundalk success for Qatar Racing
More Buck's in the money at Sandown
Classy Messire Des Obeaux fires for Alan King at Sandown
Alan King rules at Sandown with Messire Des Obeaux
Exeter Friday card falls victim to frost
No problems for day one of Tingle Creek meeting at Sandown
Crafty Roberto back to winning ways at Market Rasen
Highland Lodge geared up for Becher repeat
Hilly Way beckons for Douvan as Un De Sceaux picks up Tingle Creek gauntlet
Arctic Skipper angling for Lexus honours at Leopardstown
Tully East makes perfect start as Bachasson falters at Thurles
'Big day' for The New One as chasing bow beckons at Exeter
Coeur Blimey makes hurdling debut at Sandown for Sue Gardner
Trevor Whelan withdraws appeal against Leicester suspension
Native River to have light campaign before Gold Cup

1 December 2016

Precautionary inspection called for Sandown
Douvan gloom for ante-post punters as Un De Sceaux heads to Sandown
The Last Samuri spearheads Becher Chase charge at Aintree
Mouse Morris considers Cork return for Mozoltov
Exeter takes precautions against threat of frost
Frozen Wincanton abandons Thursday fixture
Ruby Walsh describes Douvan Tingle Creek price as 'crazy'
Brian Hughes booked for The Last Samuri in Becher test
Super Sam spearheads Deutsch double as Twiston-Davies is denied
Henry Brooke completes swift injury recovery with fourth place at Catterick
Brian Hughes ends notable November with Catterick glory
Sam Twiston-Davies second on Ffos Las return
Martin warns Heartbreak City 'more doubtful than likely' to run at Huntingdon
French stayer Alex De Larredya on track for Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot
Jim Crowley receives Scarlet Dragon call-up for Qatar mission

30 November 2016

David Bass set for swift return at Wincanton
HWPA anticipates 'friendly association' with ITV Racing
David Dennis ponders Cheltenham Gold run with Roman Flight
Who Dares Wins in frame for big Ascot handicap
Mouse Morris to chart Punchestown route with Smashing
Fergal O'Brien considers Haydock test for National hope Viva Steve
Wincanton on frost alert
'Great feeling' as trainer Ian Williams bags landmark winner
Airlie Beach in line for Grade One test in Royal Bond at Fairyhouse
Alpha Des Obeaux on target for Drinmore mission
National hero Mouse Morris dreaming of more Aintree glory
Profitable to stay with Clive Cox following Godolphin sale
Faugheen among Hatton's Grace 10 as Annie Power misses out
Coeur Blimey team on Sandown weather watch
Superstar Douvan all the rage for Tingle Creek battle
Michael Bell happy with Big Orange as he jets into Hong Kong

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