Racing: Challenge in control

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SEVERAL Cheltenham hopefuls were humbled by Cumbrian Challenge's comfortable victory in the Rossington Main Hurdle at Doncaster yesterday. The Peter Easterby- trained five-year-old may bypass the Festival in favour of Aintree, however.

The gelding, a 12-1 shot, took command approaching the second last flight and went on to defeat the favourite, Scobie Boy, by three-and-a-half lengths, with Surrey Dancer six lengths away third. Scobie Boy did not have the best of runs but this did not affect the result. A further 10 lengths back in fourth was the highly- regarded Arctic Kinsman.

'It took this horse a little time to learn the job of jumping and we brought him here to find out exactly how good he is,' Tim Easterby, the trainer's son, said.

'We'd have to think about Cheltenham now but I have a feeling that Liverpool could well suit him better,' he said. 'He did his job really well here - that's the horse he is, although we just couldn't get him right during last Flat season.'