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CELESTIAL HALO should prove too strong for his opposition in the Betred Mobile Hurdle (2.20) at Haydock.

The 10-year-old, who finished seventh in the 2007 St Leger, has had a remarkable career and the signs are that he hasn't finished yet.

Successful in the 2008 Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham, and beaten a neck by Punjabi in the Champion Hurdle 12 months later, Celestial Halo has run with admirable consistency against the top hurdlers after a brief flirtation with steeplechasing late in 2010.

Last March the Stewart family's stalwart added a new string to his bow when stepping up to three miles to deputise for the absent Big Buck's in the World Hurdle at the National Hunt Festival.

And he was anything but discredited in running an excellent second to Solwhit.

This winter Celestial Halo returned to action to lift the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury in November a race Big Buck's had won four times by 17 lengths.

A foot infection ruled him out the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot the Saturday before Christmas, but Celestial Halo, proven under today's conditions, is reported to be thriving by Paul Nicholls as he warms up for another crack at the World Hurdle.

After an impressive British debut at Wetherby, AURORE D'ESTRUVAL should take plenty of beating against the boys in the Victor Ludorum Juvenile Hurdle (1.45).

John Quinn's French import was sent off at 8-15 for a five-runner novice event a fortnight ago - and Brian Hughes' mount didn't let her supporters down.

Jumping slickly, Aurore D'Estruval was still going easily when taking up the running at the third-last, and sprinted clear once asked to quicken, scoring by 13 lengths.

There is plenty more where that came from and, with heavy ground holding no fears for the daughter of Nickname, Aurore D'Estruval is fancied to follow up.


STAR TURN Celestial Halo looks too strong for today's rivals
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Title Annotation:Sport; Opinion, Columns
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Feb 15, 2014
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