Racing: Etendard Indien flops but Tanikos lifts Henderson

Nicky Henderson's Triumph Hurdle hope Etendard Indien flopped at odds-on at Newbury yesterday but his stablemate Tanikos ran out an easy winner of the day's biggest chase.

Nicky Henderson's Triumph Hurdle hope Etendard Indien flopped at odds-on at Newbury yesterday but his stablemate Tanikos ran out an easy winner of the day's biggest chase.

Racing went ahead only after the track was passed fit following four inspections before noon due to overnight frost.

Etendard Indien's trainer, Nicky Henderson, sent the 8-13 favourite to the juvenile novices' hurdle desperate to get a run into his charge with Cheltenham only 10 days away. But he was left wishing he had not bothered after seeing the colt fold from the second-last flight in ground that officially changed to good to soft after the race.

Just as Mick Fitzgerald's mount started to toil in front, it was the Paul Nicholls-trained L'Oudon, with Ruby Walsh on board, who came swinging on the bridle down the stands side and pulled away on the run-in to beat the staying-on Daryal by four lengths.

The winner's owner, Terry Warner, suggested that L'Oudon could become "the next Rooster Booster" adding: "This is the best horse I have got. I think he could be seriously good."

Henderson has not entirely ruled out a tilt at the Triumph for Etendard Indien, despite the defeat. After that disappointment, Henderson and Fitzgerald bounced back in the Handicap Chase with the 10-1 shot Tanikos.

Racegoers were treated to a thrilling battle in the novices' hurdle as Bengo and Il Duce jumped all four flights in the home straight virtually neck and neck. It seemed unfair that one should prevail over the other as both horses willingly gave their all and, after six minutes, judge Derek Lever admitted defeat in trying to split the pair and announced a dead-heat.

Timmy Murphy, unseated from The Holy Bee during Newbury's second race, missed his remaining rides because he was suffering from a dead leg. The jockey is hopeful of passing the doctor and making a swift return today.

* All today's meetings look likely to go ahead after weather conditions improved yesterday. Doncaster have called a precautionary inspection for 7.15am.

* Jim Culloty is to renew his association with Royal Shakespeare in the Champion Hurdle on 15 March. Culloty partnered Steve Gollings's charge when he was third to Inglis Drever in the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton last month.

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