• Racing/
  • Bullets Fires From The Front

Opus Energy Novices' Hurdle (Registered As The Sharp Novices' Hurdle) (Grade 2) 2m 110y

  • (4yo+, 2m 110y, Class 1, 8 runners)
  • Winner £14,238 2nd £5,342 3rd £2,675 4th £1,332 5th £670 6th £335
  • Going: Good to Soft (Good in places, Cross Country G/S,Soft in places)
  • Surface: Turf
Weighed In:
  • Winning time: 4m 28.10s
  • Off time: 14:27:28
  • Last Updated: November 16 2012, 15:58 GMT

Dodging Bullets made all the running to land the Opus Energy Novices' Hurdle (Registered As The Sharp Novices' Hurdle) at Cheltenham.

Dodging Bullets: On top again at Cheltenham
Dodging Bullets: On top again at Cheltenham

With none of the jockeys prepared to set the pace early on, Ruby Walsh took the race by the scruff of the neck and dictated a very muddling pace.

All eight runners held a chance turning for home but the 5/4 favourite held them all off up the hill, and despite a bad mistake at the final flight, Paul Nicholls' ace was able to come home in-front.

Nicholls said: "He wants a fast-run race, he stays and this will have done him the world of good.

"He showed last year in the Triumph Hurdle that he's a classy horse but he was just struggling with his breathing.

"We might go for the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton on Boxing Day and then come back for the Supreme here - it's a long way off to start planning yet."

Nicky Henderson's River Maigue (4/1) made a strong challenge before the final hurdle but had to settle for second under Barry Geraghty, whilst Evan Williams' Court Minstrel (6/1) stayed on best to take third spot for Paul Moloney.

Fourth home was Nicky Richards' Duke Of Navan, whilst the well-touted Tominator disappointed further down the field.

The winner, who was left unchanged by Sky Bet at 14/1 for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle in March, provided Nicholls and Walsh with a quick double following the victory of Shooters Wood in the preceding handicap chase.

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