Connections of Doncaster winner Rock On Ruby were quick to commiserate those linked with Darlan after Nicky Henderson's Christmas Hurdle hero suffered a fatal fall at the final flight in the 32Red Hurdle.
Darlan was travelling powerfully behind Rock On Ruby on the approach to the last and looked the most likely winner but he clipped the top of the obstacle and crashed out.
Rock On Ruby, ridden by Noel Fehily, went on to beat Countrywide Flame by three lengths, but the winning trainer Harry Fry said: "In terms of the race, we didn't want a scenario like that and commiserations to all of Nicky's team and AP (McCoy) and JP (McManus)."
"As far as Ruby is concerned, we've come and he's done the job. He's had a good race and that will bring him on again for the day. He's jumped well enough, not as sharp as he can be, but there's improvement there.
"We can take him home and put the finishing touches on him.
"He's a really tough horse. He joined Countrywide Flame turning into the straight and it's a long way home, but he'll keep galloping and keep finding all day for us.
"The whole season has been built around Cheltenham and hopefully we can go there full of confidence."
Fehily said: "He's done everything we wanted him to do and he'll definitely come on for it. He had a good blow from the back of the last.
"It's obviously disappointing to see the other horse fall like that, but we've been in front plenty long enough and he's idling up the straight.
"He's where we want him going to Cheltenham now. His best form is around Cheltenham and he goes there now with confidence up. If he's good enough on the day, he'll be bang there again."
25 October 2014Steip shock as Ship sinks
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Trophy proves a stroll in Park
Roan reward at last for Wishfull
Muir full of praise for Code
Hawk swoops for Aintree prize
Smaih shines for Hannon
McCoy delighted with World hero
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Buick happy as a Star is born
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McCoy makes Chepstow return
Botti seeking Astrelle celebration
24 October 2014Ballyalton out for the season
Hutchinson sits out weekend action
Balding sweet on Park chance
Walker hoping for Glorious victory
Times out to make Newbury headlines
Cheltenham honour leading figures
Moore keen on Adelaide chance
Stevens back for Breeders'
Johnson Houghton fined
Duke lords it at Carlisle
Southwell first for O'Brien
Fenton fined over steroids
Buywise on the money at Ludlow
Lockinge the big plan for Toormore
Stone ruled out of Old Roan
Wetherby likely for First run
Elm tops Trophy octet
23 October 2014Fenton guilty of drugs possession
Williams hoping for Max power
Harty biding his time with Lane
Clonmel aim for Baily
Jezki possible for Morgiana bow
Harrington expects Naylor to shine
Gosden a Fan of Newmarket scorer
Northern aces face off in Cumbria
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Dynaste charts direct Haydock route
O'Brien outlines Breeders' plans
Wetherby-bound Taquin to duck Power
High hopes for Adelaide run
Gilgamboa waits on ground
Dandino misses Cup date
22 October 2014December date for Balding memorial
Deputy outgunned at Fontwell
Whisky chasing Power spoils
Burke maps out Odeliz targets
Present sights set on Power prize
New category for all-weather champs
Moviesta has sales date
National aim for O'Neill star
Cheltenham on Ginge agenda
Lewis eyeing Dubai success
Henderson handed Ascot role
Panther given Breeders' go-ahead
Plain sailing for perfect Storm
Big Easy sets sail for Open fixture
Hall monitored for Giant Bolster
Stomachion in November frame
Hughes revels in 'sweet' success
BHA moves to address small fields
Connell turns to Heskin
Integral to race on next year