The first big Champion Hurdle Trial race of the season is now just around the corner and a number of exciting horses are set to take their chance in the Racing Post Hurdle. Heading that list of potential runners is the Nicky Henderson trained Darlan who is expected to be a major player this season with the Champion Hurdle in mind. The Racing Post Hurdle takes place at the Cheltenham Open Meeting a week on Saturday and it should offer punters some nice early Festival clues. Plenty is expected of Darlan this season after he impressed last winter as a top class novice. He fell when looking the winner all over in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury before running a blinder to finish second behind Cinders And Ashes in the Supreme Novices at the Festival. He finished the season at Aintree when he won the Top Novices Hurdle in some style and connections will be hoping he makes up into a Champion Hurdle contender this season.
The Racing Post Hurdle was formerly known as the Greatwood and it has been won by some excellent horses in recent years. One of the stand out names on the roll of honour is the excellent Rooster Booster who won in 2002 before going onto win the Champion Hurdle later in the same season. Sizing Europe is another horse to have won the race before going onto big things at the Cheltenham Festival and it will be fascinating to see who registers the win in 2012. Potential opponents for Darlan in the Racing Post Hurdle include the highly progressive Raya Star who won at Ascot recently and Dodging Bullets who looks a nice prospect for Paul Nicholls and could run a big race. The race is one of the highlights of the three day Open Meeting at Cheltenham and as well as being a great meeting in its own right it offers trainers the chance to run their potential Festival horses over the unique undulations of Prestbury Park.