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Celestial Halo out of Long Walk Hurdle with foot infection

Last Updated: 21/12/13 8:53am

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Celestial Halo: Foot infection

Celestial Halo: Foot infection

Sky Bet

At Fishers Cross will go off as odds-on favourite for the Long Walk Hurdle on Saturday after Celestial Halo was ruled out with a foot infection.

Paul Nicholls' nine-year-old showed he was as good as ever when winning the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury in impressive fashion last month.

He had At Fishers Cross behind him that day and the pair were due to meet again in a mouthwatering clash and Nicholls revealed his disappointment in his exclusive Betfair column.

"It is obviously disappointing that Celestial Halo can't run in the Long Walk Hurdle because of a foot infection, but he should be fine in 10 to 14 days," Nicholls wrote.

"We had been struggling with him a little all week. He pulled up a bit feelingly after working on Monday morning, so we took his shoe off and poulticed his near fore, and left that on for 48 hours.That seemed to do the trick, so we then cantered him before declaration time yesterday morning and all seemed fine.

"In fact, just to double-check we cantered him again third lot, and all was okay. But it flared up again this morning, much worse in fact, and he was clearly lame, so we will now treat the infection.

"These things happen day-in, day-out with horses, and it is just unfortunate that it happened to one of our stars on the eve of a big race. But thankfully it is not a long-term problem," the West Country handler added.

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