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Last Updated: 11/12/10 9:44pm
Karabak: Game winner
Karabak out-fought Any Given Day up the Cheltenham hill to land the Unicoin Homes Relkeel Hurdle under Tony McCoy.
Alan King's seven-year-old was sent off at 5-1 and travelled as well as anything throughout, but looked as if he was going to be collared approaching the last.
Any Given Day, who had been virtually tailed off at halfway, made relentless progress around the outside of the whole field and went a neck up after the last.
However, McCoy was in his famous drive position and gained the upper hand for a length and three-quarters win.
Celestial Halo ran a sound race on his return to hurdling in third, with Zaynar fading back into fourth.
The sponsors make Karabak 10-1 for the World Hurdle, while Sky Bet are 12-1 from 20s and have dual defending Champion Big Buck's as their 4-6 favourite.
King said: "He has never been beaten by a bad one and has been playing in the Premier division for two seasons.
"He took his run at Ascot very well - normally he needs a fair bit of time after a race but he came out of that very well.
"He had no penalty here and JP (McManus, owner) was very keen to have a crack.
"He is not big enough for novice chases, it was always
the plan to stay hurdling.
"I think there is a two-and-a-half-mile race back here on New Year's Day and we will go for that and the World Hurdle. Whatever, it will be one more run somewhere and then we will take the monster (Big Buck's) on."
Beryl McCain, trainer Donald's mother, said: "We're thrilled to bits with him.
"Jason (Maguire) said they were going such a pace early on and he didn't like being crowded by the other horses. He could possibly do with a bit further."
Nicholls said of Celestial Halo: "He's a confidence horse and he'd be able to build tons on that.
"He's still a bit keen but two and a half miles will be his trip and he could come back here on New Year's Day."