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: No-hopers steer clear of Champion

There are those in racing who simply love a good mutter, and yesterday's disclosure that the Champion Hurdle has attracted a rather modest entry of 24 will no doubt prompt a few pointless moans about declining standards and how everything was better before the war. In fact, though there are 18 fewer names in the Champion than last year, the depth of quality is as excellent as ever, with only the hopeless vanity entries conspicuously absent. Several of the nominees, including Vintage Crop, Destriero and Corrouge, must already be considered doubtful runners, but even if just 16 or so go to post, backers will be spoiled for choice. Such names as Relkeel, Large Action, Danoli, Mysilv, Fortune And Fame, Flakey Dove and Oh So Risky are the best hurdlers of several generations, and punters can bet in the knowledge that a no-hoper will not fall at the first and bring down the favourite, as so nearly happened last year.

Strap is Sublime

A tongue strap transformed the fortunes of Sublime Fellow yesterday when the four-year-old won a competitive novices' hurdle race at Ludlow by four lengths.

Racing: Bird's Nest laid to rest

ANDY TURNELL yesterday paid tribute to the high-class hurdler Bird's Nest, whose death last week has just been announced. Turnell rode Bird's Nest, who was trained by his father, Bob, to success in numerous good races in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The partnership finished second to Night Nurse in the Champion Hurdle of 1976.

Racing: Dettori holds Sonic thrust

FOR the second time in 24 hours, the prize-giving for a major race was delayed yesterday by a stewards' enquiry. This time, however, the owner of the first horse home did, eventually, receive the trophy, after Lovely Millie was confirmed as the winner of the Solario Stakes at Sandown, writes Greg Wood.

Athletics / European Championship: Britain's golden hurdlers rise to the occasion

Britain's Sally Gunnell after her emphatic win in the 400m hurdles at the European athletics championships in Helsinki, adding to her Olympic, world and Commonwealth titles. She said: 'Now it's ice-cream, chips and beer for me.' Colin Jackson won the men's 100m hurdles.

European Athletics Championships: Smith hits heights to collect silver: High jumper helps set new British tradition off the track

ON A NIGHT when the great British tradition of 1500-metre running slipped into embarrassing disrepair, team morale was revived by a silver medal in the high jump from Steve Smith, who, with Dalton Grant, has established a new British tradition in that event over recent years.

Athletics / European Championships: Technical mastery that breaks down the barriers: Owen Slot studies the tactics which have put Britain's top hurdlers on a high plane

'FAR from perfect,' was Colin Jackson's assessment of his most famous run. It broke the world record by 0.01sec and won a world championship gold in Stuttgart last year, but hurdles six to ten, he says, were not quite right. He has been working on hurdles seven and eight this year and in the winter he will start on nine and 10. When he finally puts them all together, he expects the world record time to tumble considerably further.

Athletics: Bronze for Britons

BRITAIN'S young hurdlers Diane Allahgreen and Noel Levy won bronze medals in the world junior championships here last night, but both were disappointed to miss out on the golds they had expected, writes Duncan Mackay from Lisbon.

Racing: Champion test

GRANVILLE AGAIN has a better than even chance of running in Saturday's Scottish Champion Hurdle at Ayr, Len Lungo said yesterday. The trainer is awaiting the result of a routine blood test today before giving last year's Champion Hurdler the go ahead.

Racing: Danoli 5-1 for Champion

DANOLI is the 5-1 favourite for next year's Champion Hurdle after a spectacular eight- length success in the Aintree Hurdle. With Flakey Dove, the reigning champion, failing to cope with the heavy ground, Mole Board and Fortune And Fame chased Danoli home and the strength of the form is questionable.

Athletics: Jackson and Kingdom to meet

Colin Jackson will meet Roger Kingdom, whom he succeeded as world record-holder last summer, in the 60m hurdles at the TSB International in Birmingham on 26 February. 'I'm hoping to give Colin Jackson a run for his money,' Kingdom said.

Racing: Two-way Street

THE prospects of Morley Street being aimed at the Champion Hurdle increased yesterday. The Toby Balding- trained gelding was originally earmarked for the Gold Cup this season, but owner Michael Jackson said: 'The trainer is bending my ear towards the Champion Hurdle. I'm thinking about it but no decision has been made yet.'

Racing: Broad hint for future

CHRIS BROAD predicted a bright future for Mudahim after the seven-year-old won his first race over fences by 25 lengths yesterday. Nottingham's Bingham Novice Chase was a springboard for Cab On Target 12 months ago and Broad believes Mudahim can follow that horse to the top.

Athletics: McKoy denies Jackson winning double: Mike Rowbottom reports from Birmingham

COLIN JACKSON was denied a winning double at yesterday's Amateur Athletic Association indoor championships by the starting speed of his good friend and rival Mark McKoy. It will not worry him unduly.
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