Teaforthree got day two of the Cheltenham Festival off to a winning start for punters with a pillar-to-post victory in the Diamond Jubilee National Hunt Chase.
The 5/1 favourite was given a gem of a ride from the front by JT McNamara in the four-mile event, leading at an even pace from the outset and held plenty in reserve for the business end.
Giving trainer Rebecca Curtis her first winner at the festival, Teaforthree rallied when Four Commanders took a slight advantage at the second last.
The pair were still locked together at the last with Harry The Viking and Our Victoria breathing down their necks.
However, McNamara had judged it to perfection on Teaforthree, who pulled out more on the run-in to win by two lengths from the staying-on Harry The Viking (7/1), with Four Commanders (10/1) holding on to third place in a race where all the principles were prominent throughout.
“It’s very special,” said Curtis. “It wasn’t the plan to go out and make the running, but he settled well and we know he jumps and stays.
“It doesn’t happen too often (winning at the Festival) and I’m going to enjoy it. It’s great just to have runners, let alone a winner.
“He is probably better with cut in the ground, but going four miles you can get away with it. He’s a brilliant jumper.”