• Racing/
  • The Skyfarmer Continues Winning Run

CF Roberts Electrical Mechanical Services Handicap Hurdle 2m 1f

  • (3yo+, 2m 1f, Class 3, 9 runners)
  • Winner £7,507 2nd £2,218 3rd £1,109 4th £554 5th £277 6th £139
  • Going: Good (Cross Country: Good, Good to Firm in places)
  • Surface: Turf
Weighed In:
  • Winning time: 4m 5.00s
  • Off time: 13:40:12
  • Last Updated: December 13 2013, 17:12 GMT

The Skyfarmer continued his winning streak with an impressive victory at Cheltenham on Friday.

The Skyfarmer earned Festival quotes with his handicap win
The Skyfarmer earned Festival quotes with his handicap win

Philip Hobbs' five-year-old has had a 2013 to remember with victory in a bumper at Wincanton and hurdles events at Newton Abbot and Taunton, and he made light of a handicap mark of 123 to post victory in the CF Roberts Electrical + Mechanical Services Handicap Hurdle.

Glencree and Dan Breen attempted to make the running in the early stages though both cancelled each other out and the race began to take shape after they negotiated the third flight from home.

Canadian Diamond, who had pulled hard in the early stages, assumed command but his tenure always appeared likely to a short one as Zafranagar, Lyvius, Maxi Chop and The Skyfarmer waited in behind.

Richard Johnson was first to play his hand and though the 4/1 shot was to come under strong pressure from Lyvius after they braced the last, he ultimately showed far more resolution than his rival and Barry Geraghty was forced to settle for second place.

Johnson said of his mount: "He won two novice hurdles around Newton Abbot and Taunton so it's hard to know what you've got, but he's done it nicely and the handicapper will put him up plenty for that. They went a nice strong gallop early and that helped him as well."

  • Wonderful Charm jumps alongside Oscar Whisky in the Ryman Stationery Cheltenham Business Club Novices' Chase
  • The field are tightly grouped in the Caspian Caviar Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Chase
  • King Massini leads from Al Alfa
  • King Massini has a clear advantage but had to work hard for victory
  • The Skyfarmer and Lyvius go toe-to-toe
  • Zara Phillips looks pensive before Monbeg Dude's run
  • So too does co-owner Mike Tindall
  • Theatre Guide travelled strongly
  • But couldn't repel the Dude on the run-in
  • The winner now has the Grand National in his sights
  • Winning trainer Michael Scudamore is all smiles
  • Sire Collonges leads the field in the cross-country
  • Shalimar Fromentro, Imperial Circus and Sire Collonges jump the fence spectacularly
  • Sunnyhillboy rolls back the years in the three mile handicap hurdle
  • The bookmakers' boards shine brightly in the gloaming
  • Ballyalton sends some punters home happy in the finale
All of the best images from the opening day of The International

Winning trainer Philip Hobbs added: "He's been progressive and has always gone very much the right way. The handicapper is going to put him up plenty for that so he'll be going back to novice company and he's progressing nicely."

"There's the Tolworth but that's often run in very soft ground and I'm not sure he'd want that. The Betfair Hurdle could be an option, but you can have the same problem there."

Sky Bet introduced The Skyfarmer at 25/1 in their Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle betting and spokesman Michael Shinners said: "The front two have pulled well clear of the rest today, and though the winner still has plenty to find if he's to develop into a Sky Bet Supreme contender he's clearly highly progressive.

"He's shown he acts on the track too which is always a good thing so at this stage he's filed in the drawer marked interesting outsider."

New Sky Bet customers: Free £30 matched bet