Darver Star has earned his place in next month’s Unibet Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham after a sterling effort to finish second in the Irish equivalent at Leopardstown.
Trainer Gavin Cromwell, who sent out the ill-fated Espoir D’Allen to lift the two-mile showpiece in 2019, believes the eight-year-old deserves to take his chance on the back of his performance on Saturday.
Staying on strongly from the final flight, Darver Star snatched the runner-up spot from Petit Mouchoir close home and got within half a length of the 8-11 favourite Honeysuckle at the line.
“He’s come out of the race well,” said Cromwell.
“We were delighted with the run. It was a good solid performance.
“He stayed on really well – so please God, we’ll go forward. He’s in the Champion Hurdle, and if all remains well he can hopefully go there.”
Darver Star was a late starter to the racing game, having his first run only in December 2018, but he has gone from strength – particularly this season, with four wins on the bounce.
That winning run came to an end in the Grade One Royal Bond Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse in December, but he was a creditable third to Envoi Allen that day – and backed that up with an even better display at the weekend.