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14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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Darlan team happy to get a runHeadlines
Darlan

Connections of the Nicky Henderson-trained Darlan are looking forward to getting a run into the six-year-old at Doncaster before he goes for Champion Hurdle glory in March.

He was due to line up in the Contenders Hurdle at Sandown on Saturday, but switched to the 32Red Hurdle on Town Moor after the Esher track's hurdle races had to be abandoned due to waterlogging.

"It's a competitive little race. It's great they have put on the race and the ground might not be too bad there," said Frank Berry, racing manager to owner JP McManus.

"It's nice to see a good field, it's great to be able to get the run into him and we hope he runs well."

John Quinn believes another of the runners, Countrywide Flame, will only be seen at his best when ground conditions improve.

Last year's Triumph Hurdle hero, who landed the Fighting Fifth earlier in the season, goes into the contest on the back of a disappointing fourth behind Darlan in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton.

"He's fit and well and schooled well the other day, so I'm looking forward to running him on Monday," said the North Yorkshire handler.

"The ground will be more suitable than what he's been running on so far this season and I do think once the ground really dries up in the spring he'll be even better. I think he'll run a good race on Monday, but it's not Cheltenham and that's what we're really looking forward to.

"We know he loves Cheltenham, he showed that in the Triumph Hurdle last year, and as I was saying to someone the other day, if he hadn't kicked the last hurdle out of the ground he'd have won the Triumph Hurdle by six lengths.

"Monday is a good opportunity to get him out again on a bit of nice ground, so we'll see how we go."

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