Cinders And Ashes claims Supreme Novices’ Hurdle title

Cinders And Ashes was an emphatic winner of the William Hill Supreme Novices’ Hurdle on day one at the Cheltenham Festival.

Donald McCain’s five-year-old was always travelling well under Jason Maguire but made a couple of jumping errors, including at the last, on his way to a one-and-a-quarter length victory over Darlan.

Trifolium was third under Davy Russell.

Montbazon struck for home early in the straight but was overtaken by Cinders And Ashes jumping the final flight, and despite crashing through it the winner bounded up the hill best of all.

With the pace not as frenetic as might have been expected, plenty of runners were pulling for their heads in the early stages, including the winner.

The result was plenty remained in with chances heading down the hill and bunching caused traffic problems for those behind.

Leading fancy Darlan was one of the first to commit for home, while one of the Irish raiders, Trifolium, was another right there rounding the home turn.

But Cinders And Ashes quickened to the lead soon after and despite flattening the final flight, he was good value for his victory.

Joint-owner Phil Cunningham, whose Cockney Rebel won the English and Irish 2000 Guineas back in 2007, said: “I think I’ll stick to Flat racing, my heart is still racing!

“It was a cracking ride and training performance.

“What an amazing day.”

Maguire said: “Fantastic, but I probably got to the front a bit too soon. He pricked his ears and he got in a bit tight at the last.

“He’s a smart horse and has got a Flat pedigree. He’s just a year stronger this year and Donald’s done a brilliant job with him.

“His Flat pedigree has helped him as it got a bit tight a couple of times on the inside.”

McCain said: “That was magic. I told the owners to help themselves to the 33s at Christmas.

“He’s a fair horse. I wasn’t sure if he’d be as good on that ground but he’s a bit like Peddlers Cross – he’s a tool.”