Cole Harden made every yard of the running to win the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at Cheltenham for Warren Greatrex and Gavin Sheehan.
Allowed an easy time of things at the head of affairs, the six-year-old looked a sitting duck as all the market leaders stacked up behind him.
However, having had a breathing operation after his last run, Sheehan had saved plenty for the famous hill and a good leap at the last kept him three lengths clear.
Paul Nicholls’ Saphir Du Rheu gave chase but he was three and a quarter lengths down at the line, with his stablemate Zarkandar the same distance back in third after a jolting mistake at the second-last cost him any chance of victory.
It was a first Festival success for trainer and jockey, coming at 16-1. Greatrex said: “We’ve just won a Grade One and beat the best, so we’re here, aren’t we?”
Tony McCoy ensured he would not leave his final Cheltenham Festival empty handed when Uxizandre led from pillar to post in the Ryanair Chase.
McCoy did not seem to fancy his chances much pre-race, but Alan King’s seven-year-old put in some spectacular leaps on the way round.
He built up a sizeable advantage before McCoy gave him a breather coming down the hill and the challengers stacked up.
Last year’s runner-up Hidden Cyclone, the favourite Don Cossack, Eduard and Johns Spirit had chances, but Nicky Henderson’s mare Ma Filleule looked the biggest danger.
McCoy had saved plenty, though, and Uxizandre (16-1) kept up the gallop to win by five lengths.
Don Cossack was three and a quarter lengths behind Ma Filleule in third.
After a succession of near-misses and the disappointment of Sprinter Sacre, Nicky Henderson ensured he would not leave the Cheltenham Festival empty handed as Call The Cops landed the Pertemps Final.
Kim Bailey’s career has suffered plenty of ups and downs since he landed the Gold Cup-Champion Hurdle double 20 years ago, but he was back on the Festival scoresheet with 33-1 shot Darna in the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate.
David Pipe’s veteran The Package (9-1) won a dramatic renewal of the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup. Placed twice at the meeting and having run in Grand Nationals before, his best days appeared to be behind him but the 12-year-old looked reborn, bounding up the hill to give Jamie Codd a second winner of the week after Cause Of Causes in the four-miler.