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  • Spring Sees Out Slog

Rewards4Racing Handicap Hurdle 3m

  • (4yo+, 3m, Class 2, 9 runners)
  • Winner £12,512 2nd £3,696 3rd £1,848 4th £924 5th £462 6th £232
  • Going: Soft, Heavy in places
  • Surface: Turf
Weighed In:
  • Winning time: 6m 31.30s
  • Off time: 13:55:44
  • Last Updated: January 1 2014, 18:47 GMT

Return Spring got the better of Quartz De Thaix after a fine duel for the Rewards4Racing Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Return Spring (left) fights it out with Quartz Du Thaix (right)
Return Spring (left) fights it out with Quartz Du Thaix (right)

Three miles in testing conditions was always going to be a tough ask and while very few managed to get into the contest, having passed Quartz de Thaix on the home turn, the 7/2 favourite had to fight off a renewed and persistent challenge from his rival.

Quartz De Thaix put in a good leap at the last and took the lead on the run in, but the winner fought back grittily under Richard Johnson to gain the verdict by three-and-a-quarter lengths with Florafern 28 lengths behind in third.

Trainer Philip Hobbs said of the winner: "He stays well but we were a bit concerned with how he would cope with the bad ground. He's going the right way and we'll look at a Pertemps qualifier ahead of the Festival.

  • It was wet and windy at Cheltenham for racegoers...
  • ...and conditions were particularly testing for the horses
  • Aubusson provided a shock in the opener...
  • ...to the delight of his rider, Lizzie Kelly
  • Sam Twiston-Davies shows just how much mud was flying at headquarters...
  • ...as Mendip Express continued to impress under Will Biddick.
  • Oscar Whisky and Taquin Du Seuil renewed rivalries in the Dipper Chase...
  • ...but Oscar Whisky powered up the hill to take victory.
  • Return Spring (left) got the better of a tenacious battle with Quartz De Thaix (right)
  • Pickamus and Cedre Bleu chase Double Ross in the Fairlawne Handicap...
  • ...and Double Ross lands a second Cheltenham contest inside 18 days.
  • Zarkandar and Annie Power fought out the Dornan Engineering Hurdle...
  • ...but Ruby Walsh was all smiles as the mare retained her unbeaten record.
  • The clean silks tell the story. Modus truly dotted up in the finale.
All the best images from New Year's Day at Cheltenham.

"He needs to qualify for the race by finishing in the first eight, but he would have done so on every start this season, and there are a few opportunities left for him."

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