Sport 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

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

Jessica Ennis-Hill ready to hurdle into the unknown

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Jessica Ennis-Hill

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The Olympic heptathlon winner returned to action earlier this week

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British champions do not necessarily make major waves internationally but that is not the case in the women's 400m hurdles.

Mo Farah on his way to victory in the 5,000m

Flying Farah rises to the challenge as Judd enters elite ranks

Before the best of Britain's runners and jumpers got into action in Birmingham yesterday, it was fair to say they were in danger of getting stuck in Jagger mode in post-home-Olympic season.

Hartley on the track in 1979

Donna Hartley: Olympic sprinter and champion bodybuilder

Donna Hartley, who has died suddenly at the age of 58, was known as the "golden girl" of British athletics during the second half of the 1970s. She was not the first and would not be the last to receive this double-edged nomination – as she wryly acknowledged herself, being called a "golden girl" ultimately obliged you to win gold.

Ennis: 'I will never forget the noise'

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Gold medal winners from 'Super Saturday' will all be in action

Cheltenham Festival: Diakali can turn tables to triumph over Our Conor

A look ahead to the final day at the Cheltenham Festival

First Lieutenant (right), in the absence of his old rival Bobs Worth (left), can land the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham

Cheltenham Festival: First Lieutenant can assume command

The Festival has lost none of its intensity since expanding to a fourth day in 2005, but those who counselled that "less is more" may yet feel they had a point when they contemplate today's card. Elevated to the Thursday centrepiece, the Ladbrokes World Hurdle has hitherto borrowed lustre first from Inglis Drever, who won three times in four years, and then from Big Buck's, whose record-breaking spree of 18 wins has incorporated the last four runnings.

Harry Fry has had nine winners from just 18 runners this year

Harry Fry does it his way for Rock On encore

Assistant who prepared last year's champion hurdler defends title as successful rookie trainer

Perri Shakes-Drayton in action at the European Indoor Championships
Noel Meade is Monksland's trainer

Noel Meade fancies Monksland to pick up World Hurdle habit

There is a big hole in the World Hurdle where Big Buck's used to be and everybody is desperate to fill it.

Team GB's athletics captain Dai Greene says the pressure is on

Athletics: Greene goes up to 600m

Two of Britain's Olympic finalists will go head-to-head in a rare 600 metres contest at the British Athletics Glasgow International Match on Saturday.

Cause of Causes (right) has enjoyed three wins in four runs

Cause for celebration after Elliott turns Flat flop into Festival Supreme prospect

Cheltenham on the cards as Irish novice hurdler shows raw courage to match a fancy pedigree

Melodic Rendezvous winning at Cheltenham last month

Scott ready to let Rendezvous fulfil appointment with best

At the time, it seemed tempting to doubt the form. After all, the runners had splashed over a course that might sooner have staged a regatta than a Grade One bumper. As things have turned out, however, the last two horses still afloat in the straight at Punchestown in April have amply confirmed their calibre since switching to hurdles. This weekend, both seek a place towards the top of different novice divisions either side of the Irish Sea. Champagne Fever, the winner, steps up to two and a half miles at Naas on Sunday; while Melodic Rendezvous contests a Grade One over two miles at Sandown on Saturday.

Seymour Eric passes the winning post in Hereford’s last race at the course’s final meeting yesterday

Pont bridges the class gap at first go

There are action replays and action replays and yesterday's at Navan will be watched more in one Irish household than another. Twelve months ago in the Grade One novices' hurdle, the Willie Mullins-trained Boston Bob turned over the odds-on Mount Benbulben, saddled by Gordon Elliott. In yesterday's edition of the two-and-a-half-miler, only the names of the horses changed, with Pont Alexandre the winner and Don Cossack, at 8-15, the loser.

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