Racing Demon failed to live up to his late stablemate Best Mate’s reputation with a win at Cheltenham today.

Fans of the late great horse, who saw him win the Cheltenham Gold Cup three times, had hoped his absence would be softened with a win from his stable companion. But despite being sent off as 9-2 favourite in the Irish Independent Arkle Challenge Trophy, Racing Demon finished in seventh position and the race went to Voy Por Ustedes after a head to head battle with long-time leader Monet’s Garden.

A report by Racing Demon’s trainer Henrietta Knight (pictured) in today’s Telegraph spoke optimistically of Matey’s best friend: “It is a tall order for any horse to keep on winning,” she said, “But if he could put up a sparkling show in today’s Arkle Chase, he would certainly help fill the vacuum left by his mate.”

Meanwhile Noland has become the first winner of this year’s Cheltenham Festival. The Paul Nicholls trained five-year-old swooped to victory in the last few strides of the Anglo Irish Bank Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. Jockey Ruby Walsh steered the 6-1 shot into pole position ahead of Straw Bear and Buena Vista.

Recent rain had taken the sting out of the ground – good news for Noland who, according to Nicholls, is not a true two-miler.

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