There was a big upset on day one of the Cheltenham Festival when 16-1 outsider Sublimity lived up to his name with an emphatic victory in the Grade One Champion Hurdle.
Sublimity goes to post at Cheltenham before his rousing Champion Hurdle victory
Brave Inca and Hardy Eustace, who have won the highlight of the opening day three times between them, were prominent for most of the race, taking the field along at a sensible pace.
Three flights from home, and the duo were locked in battle with Brave Inca looking stronger, but Sublimity, from the yard of Irish handler John Carr, was travelling best of all in third and had barely come off the bridle as they approached two out.
Paul Carberry shook the reins as they popped the last and the son of Selkirk showed an impressive turn of foot to accelerate up the hill and put several lengths between himself and runner-up Brave Inca.
Afsoun pipped Hardy Eustace on the line for fourth. Favourite Detroit Citys run was too bad to be true and it will be interesting to see if something was amiss with Philip Hobbs charge, who travelled poorly throughout and faded tamely with a furlong left to run.
Stay in touch with what happens in all the major races at the Cheltenham throughout the Festival — plus H&H racing editor’s thoughts on the day — on www.horseandhound.co.uk, then read Horse & Hound’s in-depth report on all the action in 22 March issue of the magazine