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Rock On Ruby victory marred by death of Darlan

ESPN staff
February 4, 2013 « Etim: Renee Forte gets punished at Wembley Arena | Chartbeat test »
Rock On Ruby © PA Photos
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Champion Hurdler Rock On Ruby ran out a gritty winner of the 32Red Hurdle at Doncaster but the race was marred by the fatal fall of Darlan.

Darlan was viewed as the leading British fancy for the Champion Hurdle and he looked to have the measure of Rock On Ruby when looming upsides at the last, but he stepped at the flight and suffered a horrific fall.

Rock On Ruby ran on well to fend off long-time leader Countrywide Flame, but the fatal fall of Darlan left a sour taste in the mouth.

Countrywide Flame led for much of the contest, tracked by Rock On Ruby - with Darlan in third.

Darlan's hurdling was electric for the majority of the contest and AP McCoy had time and again to rein in his mount.

Rock On Ruby took up the running at the second last, but was tracked through by Darlan. They looked set to engage in battle when Darlan fell fatally at the last.

Darlan's trainer Nicky Henderson, who was visibly upset, said: "It's some game, isn't it?"

McCoy escaped unscathed but elected to stad himself down for the remainder of the meeting.

Minella Forfitness showed a willing attitude to score in the 32 Bonus At 32red.com Maiden Hurdle for trainer Nicky Henderson and Barry Geraghty. The event looked a good one on paper, with some classy recruits from the Flat on show. One of those, Zuider Zee, travelled and jumped superbly and looked sure to score when sweeping past Aaim To Prosper. However, despite being the first of the big three off the bridle, Minella Forfitness knuckled down to the task and powered away on the run to the line.

Henderson and Geraghty struck in the opener, as top-class recruit from France - Utopie Des Bordes justified 4/11 favouritism with the minimum of fuss.

Paul Nicholls was out of luck with Aaim To Prosper, but the champion trainer struck on the card with Ruben Cotter who made a winning fencing bow in the 32red.com Novices' Chase. Vintage Star was favoured in the market, but he was swept aside up the Town Moor home straight by Ruben Cotter who looks a stayer of real potential.

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