02/04/2013 1:44PM

Doncaster: Rock on Ruby wins 32Red Hurdle; Darlan suffers fatal injury in fall


Rock On Ruby, winner of the 2012 Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham, won Monday’s 32Red Hurdle at Doncaster Racecourse in England, a two-mile race marred by a fatal injury suffered by even-money favorite Darlan at the eighth and final hurdle.

Rock On Ruby (13-8) won by three lengths over Countrywide Flame in a field of four.

Darlan, who was using the race as a prep for the $625,000 Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham Racecourse on March 12, was racing just behind Rock On Ruby approaching the final hurdle when he fell heavily, unseating jockey A.P. McCoy. The leading steeplechase rider in England, McCoy was not injured but did not ride the remainder of the program.

Going into Monday’s race, Darlan was considered the second choice in the future book for the Champion Hurdle. A 6-year-old gelding, Darlan won 6 of 9 starts. He had fallen once before, when challenging for the lead in a two-mile race at Newbury, England, in February 2012.

Darlan rebounded from that incident to finish second in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham last March. Trained by Nicky Henderson for J.P. McManus, Darlan won his only previous start of the current steeplechase season, the Grade 1 Christmas Hurdle at Kempton, England, in December.

Rock On Ruby, an 8-year-old gelding, has won 7 of 14 starts. He is considered a 6-1 chance for the two-mile Champion Hurdle behind the Henderson-trained Hurricane Fly, the 7-4 favorite as of Monday.