Updated on 09/16/2011 6:59AM

Istabraq's career likely over


CHELTENHAM, England - Hors La Loi III, a 10-1 outsider, pulled an upset in Tuesday's Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham Racecourse, as Istabraq failed in his attempt to win the race an unprecedented fourth consecutive time.

Istabraq, the 2-1 favorite and widely considered one of the finest hurdlers in the history of steeplechasing, was pulled up by jockey Charlie Swan after jumping the first two hurdles and is expected to be retired.

Hors La Loi, second to Istabraq in the 2000 Champion Hurdle, finished three lengths in front of Marble Arch, who was a half-length clear of Bilboa. Run over 2 1/16 miles, the race drew 15 starters.

Hors La Loi was always close to the pace and pulled clear in the final three furlongs. Valiramix was in contention with two jumps remaining when he fell, fracturing a shoulder. He was later euthanized.

When Swan guided Istabraq, a 10-year-old gelding, back toward the grandstand after abandoning the race, the horse was met with a wave of applause even though the race was still in progress.

"Charlie said he felt a little tight," said Istabraq's trainer, Aidan O'Brien. "He did the right thing."

In the National Hunt Handicap Chase over 3 1/16 miles, Solo Lord, the winner of the 2001 Maryland Hunt Cup, was pulled up after losing contact with the leaders in the final mile. The race was won by Frenchman's Creek.

Ridden by Blythe Miller for her father, Bruce, Solo Lord was as close as fifth in the field of 23 in the first of two circuits.