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DARLAN, winner of the William Hill Christmas Hurdle at Kempton Park and current second favourite for the Stan James Champion Hurdle, has been entered to run at Sandown Park this Saturday, 2nd February. Trainer Nicky Henderson has entered him in the Listed Betfred Mobile Sports Contenders Hurdle at the racecourse as one of a maximum of nine horses to line up. Champion jockey and retained jockey for owner J P McManus, A P McCoy commented, “The Contenders Hurdle comes at a good time for Darlan in preparation for the Champion Hurdle and it’s a race we like to target having been successful with other horses in it like Binocular, who then went on to win the Champion Hurdle in 2010. Darlan very much enhanced his reputation at Kempton, winning nicely so I am looking forward to riding him on Saturday.”
Also entered is ROCK ON RUBY, winner of the Stan James Champion Hurdle at last year’s Cheltenham Festival – he is an unlikely runner to run due to the ground. Paul Nicholls’s CELESTIAL HALO, winner of the Contenders Hurdle in 2009 and KAUTO SHINY, a daughter of Kauto Star's half-sister Kauto Relstar, are also entered. The latter is having her first run in England for Tom George, but has won two races for him in France previously.
A maximum of seven will line up for the Grade 1 Betfred Mobile Lotto Challengers Novices’ Chase (registered as The Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase), the other highlight on the card. After reopening the race until this morning, some useful horses have been entered in the two and a half mile contest, including CAPTAIN CONAN, who won the Markel Grade 1 Henry VIII Novices Chase at Sandown last time out and Houblon des Obeaux, trained by Venetia Williams.
Another star name appearing in the entries for Saturday’s card is the 2011 Grand National winner Ballabriggs, who provided trainer Donald McCain with an emotional first National winner for owner Trevor Hemmings. He has been entered in the 3 mile Betfred Masters Handicap Chase.
Tickets for racing at Sandown Park this Saturday start at £16.00 when booked in advance.