Racing: Noland finds extra gear to steal Straw Bear's thunder

In a heartbeat, in a stride, in the flick of an eye, the goalposts here shifted. Ruby Walsh brought Noland more from the stratosphere than the clouds to snatch success in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle. Nick Gifford's cheers for his first Festival winner died in his throat as Straw Bear got mugged. And the punter who had spotted Walsh rowing at half-way and laid the apparent no-hoper in running at 999-1 on the betting exchanges was suddenly £20,000 the poorer.

The victory swoop was, though, remarkable. Noland was caught flat-footed as trailblazing Buena Vista began to wind up the steady enough early pace and although trainer Paul Nicholls, watching from the stands, was not unduly perturbed - his instructions had been to pounce late - it was a different matter in the saddle.

"Never mind waiting," he said, "he just couldn't go any faster." At the last, Noland still had seven rivals in front of him. "I thought I might catch one or two, and maybe be fourth," added the Irishman, riding the gelding in public for the first time.

Straw Bear, sent on from two out by Tony McCoy, was clumsy at the last, and let Buena Vista and Sublimity rejoin battle. Once rebalanced he charged up the hill. And then, with an irresistible turbo-boost, Noland's stamina kicked in.

The five-year-old is a chaser-in-waiting, and looks worthy to follow in the hoofprints of his owner John Hales's previous stars One Man and Azertyuiop. "He wants further than two miles already," said Nicholls, "Thank goodness we had the rain this morning to slow things up a bit."

It took Gifford's father Josh a long, long time to register a win at the Festival, but at least the son now knows the feeling of training one, even if only fleetingly. "I thought we had it," he said. "If he'd just jumped the last, who knows."

Both horses have Festival targets pencilled in for next year, Noland the Arkle Trophy and Straw Bear the Champion Hurdle. JP McManus's five-year-old is already as low as 14-1 to deprive Brave Inca of his title.

With Buena Vista hanging on for third, it was a clean sweep for the home side. And there was an Irish shut-out, too, in the other novices' Grade One contest, the Arkle Trophy. The two-miler provided a stirring duel as Voy Por Ustedes and Monet's Garden had the race to themselves from the top of the hill, jumping in a splendid rhythm until both fluffed the final obstacle.

Voy Por Ustedes and Choc Thornton gathered themselves first and delivered better acceleration to win by a length and a quarter. Five lengths back, from off the pace, came Foreman for France.

The high-mettled winner had enough energy left to deliver a robust buck as he was applauded into the winner's circle. "He's just brilliant," said Thornton. "He missed one slightly at the top of the hill, but turning the bend he was running away again." Alan King, the five-year-old's trainer, said: "He's been a natural from day one, but he's volatile."

The principals will be taking different routes in their future lives. Voy Por Ustedes who remains unbeaten over fences, will stick to two miles; Monet's Garden will step up. Unusual, perhaps, for a Festival star, but trainer Nicky Richards has a three-miler at Perth next month pencilled in for the grey.

News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
health
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales & Customer Service Executive - Call Centre Jobs

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Lancashire - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Developer

£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn