Sport 66-1 shot Auroras Encore, left, won the race last year

The number will have to be whittled down before the race in April

Hurricane Fly, ridden by Ruby Walsh, winning the Irish Champion Hurdle on Sunday

Hurricane Fly defies all the doubts to clock up No 19

Hurricane Fly confirmed he will not give up his crown at Cheltenham in March without a fight after clinching a fourth successive BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle and his 19th Grade One win in thrilling style at Leopardstown on Sunday.

Knock out: Knockara Beau (right) reels in Big Buck’s at the final obstacle of the Cleeve Hurdle to beat the marathon specialist on his return from injury

Big Buck’s brings World Hurdle in range despite running out of puff

Favourite beaten after 420 days out with injury as 66-1 shot claims galliardhomes.com Cleeve Hurdles at Cheltenham

Big Buck's wins in 2012 at Cheltenham, where he returns on Saturday after missing last year

Reve De Sivola to deny Buck’s a dream return

Big Buck’s is back. More than a year after effortlessly extending his unbeaten sequence to 18, the four-time World Hurdle winner returns to Cheltenham for the Cleeve Hurdle on trials day to great fanfare and the delight of everyone connected with the sport.

Sire De Grugy's star is rising: five wins from his last six starts

Sire De Grugy to hold court again during exile of the two-mile king

The heart may want Somersby to win Saturday's Clarence House Chase at Ascot as a timely tribute to Terry Biddlecombe, who died two weekends ago. But the head says Sire De Grugy.

Ballydoyle lose leading earner St Nicholas Abbey

St Nicholas Abbey, the Classic flop who became the winner of six Group One races and the highest-earning runner in the history of Ballydoyle, lost his battle with chronic health problems when he had to be put down after an attack of colic.

Sheikh Mohammed, pictured, said that disgraced former trainer Mahmood al-Zarooni would never work with his horses again

Godolphin doping scandal 'shocked' Sheikh Mohammed

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum has broken his silence on the Godolphin doping scandal and said that "the truth" would emerge from an ongoing inquiry.

CCTV footage of Rebekah Brooks' husband allegedly hiding evidence from the police was shown to the jury

Hacking trial: Jury sees CCTV footage of Rebekah Brooks' husband allegedly hiding evidence from police

CCTV footage of Rebekah Brooks' husband allegedly hiding evidence from the police investigating phone hacking has been shown to a jury.

Three-time champion over jumps Terry Biddlecombe dies at 72

Terry Biddlecombe, the three-times champion jump jockey who in later life was associated with the triple Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Best Mate, died on Sunday, aged 72.

Sprinter Sacre pleased connections yesterday after his Kempton scare

Injury rules Sir Des Champs out for the season

Last season’s Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up Sir Des Champs will miss the remainder of the season after sustaining a tendon injury.

Irish trainer Willie Mullins must choose between several Festival targets for Annie Power, pictured

Willie Mullins aims to find Annie Power’s real strengths

Annie Power, unbeaten in eight starts, goes on trial at Cheltenham on Wednesday in the Dornan Engineering Hurdle, but nobody seems really sure which Festival race she is on trial for.

Merry King ready to revel in mud of Chepstow marathon

In keeping with everything else about Christmas, there’s almost too much for the racing fan to appreciate and digest at the moment.

Barry Geraghty riding Sprinter Sacre before pulling up in the Desert Orchid Steeple Chase

Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton: Sprinter Sacre’s unbeaten run ended amid heart scare

Sprinter Sacre started the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton yesterday unbeaten in 10 chases and all but lionised as the Frankel of jumping; three-fifths of the way through the contest he had given up the struggle, not as some equine Graeme Swann but a fallen idol whose spirit was willing but flesh proved all too weak.

Silviniaco Conti turns tables on Cue Card to restore Nicholls’ King George crown

Another day, another race. Silviniaco Conti, only third behind Cue Card when the pair met in the Betfair Chase at Haydock last month, took glorious revenge yesterday in the second of the domestic season’s four top-level staying chases, the King George VI Chase at Kempton. And the seven-year-old’s three-and-a-half-length defeat of his rival has sent him to the head of the market for the third, and most important, the Cheltenham Gold Cup itself.

King George VI Chase: Long Run has the stamina to trump Cue Card

Conventional racing wisdom has it that speed, rather than an abundance of stamina, is the most important attribute in a potential King George VI Chase winner, hence the proliferation of specialists over shorter distances than three miles lining up at Kempton on Boxing Day.

Gordon Elliott can win The Ladbroke, for the second year running, with Flaxen Flare at Ascot

Ascot: Big Buck’s looms large as stayers cross swords

While At Fishers Cross and Reve De Sivola do battle for the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot today, one cannot get away from the sense that the most significant action in their staying hurdlers’ category took place in a training spin at Exeter on Thursday.

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