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

Racing: Limestone likes his home comforts

LIMESTONE LAD, the horse who inflicted a defeat on the champion hurdler Istabraq last weekend, could return to action in a fortnight's time.

Racing: Reveley's Marello is retired to the paddocks

THE HIGH-CLASS staying hurdler Marello has been retired after a career over jumps that yielded 11 successes from 15 races and pounds 85,633 in win and place prize-money..

Racing: Road Racer for a flyer

THE WORD "soft" features in the official going description at Aintree today, but even television viewers could hear the hooves rattling during yesterday's racing, and a surprising number of runners managed to get round in the John Hughes Chase. The lesson seemed to be that unless a deluge arrived overnight, the ground today will be good, at worst.

Racing: Tiutchev nibbled at for the Champion

TIUTCHEV, WHO was an impressive winner of a handicap hurdle at Cheltenham on Friday, was yesterday the subject of some substantial ante- post bets at 50-1 for next year's Champion Hurdle with Coral. The firm have cut him to 33-1.

Racing: Istabraq the target

DAVID EVANS yesterday forecast that Master Beveled will give Istabraq a fight on Sunday. The Welshpool trainer's charge finished four lengths adrift of the Champion Hurdler at Cork three weeks ago but he is expecting a better show when the pair meet again in the Hatton's Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse.

Racing: The former top jump jockey Steve Smith Eccles analyses today's First Bank Chase

Northern Starlight: He's sure to be up with the pace and is a sound jumper. But I feel he is up against it at the weights with 11st 10lb as he is on the small side.

Racing: Stable guide to a season's meetings

Leading trainers give their horses to follow over the jumps this winter.

Racing: Bellator best bet but weather likely to win

The elements will decide today's course of action for armchair punters. Greg Wood on a valuable card hanging in the balance.

Racing: Stable advice on the pick of the winter jumpers

Making a list of horses to follow is an absorbing alternative to form-book study. The Independent's 1977 Flat horses to follow has won 33 races and shows a pre-tax profit of pounds 9.69 to a pounds 1 level stake. Successes include Fly To The Stars (20-1 & 14-1), Fame Again (12-1) and Epic Stand (10-1). With the curtain about to fall on the Flat Turf season, it is the turn of jump trainers' to map out campaigns for their strings. The leading trainers tell Ian Davies about their winter hopes.

Ante-post on antenatal

Coral bookmakers yesterday came up with as cheeky a bet as can be conceived when they quoted odds about a horse that is almost a year away from being born one day winning the Champion Hurdle.

Agistment can graduate with honours

FESTIVAL FOCUS

Racing: Top mare Mysilv dies

Mysilv, one of the best hurdlers in Britain, has been put down after fracturing her pelvis at exercise on Saturday. Charles Egerton, trainer of the seven-year-old mare, said: "The whole yard is devastated. I will never have the opportunity of training a braver mare."

Triumph favourite Bellator out for season with leg injury

Bellator is out for the rest of the season due to a leg injury, writes Ian Davies.

Muse worthy of reflection

Racing

Borders attract Action

Kelso has succeeded in tempting Large Action to its meeting tomorrow. Oliver Sherwood, the seven-year-old's trainer, has decided to send his Champion Hurdle contender on the long trip to the Borders because of concern over heavy ground at Sandown, the original target. Large Action is due to run in the £10,000-added Pat's Jester Morebattle Hurdle at Kelso tomorrow instead of Sandown's Agfa Hurdle on Saturday. The Kelso going was last night good to soft.
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