Darlan Put Down After Fatal Fall in Champion Hurdle Trial
Leading Champion Hurdle contender Darlan has been put down after falling at the final hurdle of the Champion Hurdle Trial at Doncaster yesterday.
Darlan was making up ground on Rock on Ruby, who went on to win the race, but tumbled over the final hurdle and hit the turf hard.
Jockey Tony McCoy was able to walk away from the fall but Darlan suffered a broken neck that proved to be fatal.
Trainer Nicky Henderson was distraught after the race and could only offer a brief comment.
“It’s some game, isn’t it,” Henderson said.
“Why is it always the good ones.”
The death of Darlan overshadowed the strong performance of Rock on Ruby who returned to the winners circle for the first time since last year’s Cheltenham Festival.
Jockey Noel Fehily was delighted with his mounts effort but said he was disappointed to win the race the way he did.
“I’m delighted with him and he’s done everything we wanted him to do,” Fehily said.
“He’ll definitely come on for that and he was taking a blow coming to the last.
“He was in front for long enough and he was idling a bit and It’s always disappointing to see another horse fall like Darlan.”
Countrywide Flame produced a game staying performance to finish second that has trainer John Quinn optimistic of his chances in the Champion Hurdle in March.
“I was very pleased with him,” Quinn said.
“He was five lengths behind at the last and was beaten three lengths having made the running.
“It will be a different story in a strongly-run Champion Hurdle with a hill to finish.”
The death of Darlan has played havoc with the 2013 Champion Hurdle betting market at Bet365.
Hurricane Fly (2/1) is now the clear favorite for the event followed by Grandouet (5/1), Zarkandar (5/1) and Rock on Ruby (5/1).
You can find the best odds for the 2013 Champion Hurdle and every other race during the Cheltenham Festival at Bet365.