Sunnyhillboy shone brightly in the Citipost Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham.
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Jonjo O'Neill's veteran is more often thought of as a chaser these days but the 10/1 chance rolled back the years with a gutsy display in the penultimate race on Friday's card.
All market interest had surrounded Southfield Theatre and Paul Nicholls' charge looked to be travelling particularly well having assumed the lead with seven to jump but in common with many of the earlier races on the card, the most potent challenges were those that were to be the latest received.
Making headway as they approached the second last, McCoy bustled him up the rail and over a trip that many would have considered inadequate for him, he was always going to outstay his rivals.
Philip Hobbs sent out the second and third as Return Spring produced a typically gritty effort to stay on dourly past stable companion, So Fine.
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Jonjo O'Neill said of the winner: "It's great to see him back in the winners' enclosure, he's been a brilliant horse for us. He's not the biggest but he jumped brilliantly today over hurdles."
Tony McCoy was full of praise for the ten-year-old and remarked: "It was heartbreaking getting beat in the Grand National so it's nice to get him back to winning ways. I didn't think he ran as bad as where he finished the last day so today I was a bit more aggressive on him, a little bit more positive and it's probably helped him."
The oddsmakers were less convinced with regard to his Grand National chances and the majority left him quoted at 33/1 for the Aintree showpiece.