Willoughby Court has won the Novices’ Hurdle, the first race on day two of the Cheltenham Festival, knocking hot favourite Neon Wolf into second place.
Jockey David Bass who was denied a win on day one falling at the last fence, rode Willoughby Court from the front of the race to claim a win for trainer Ben Paulin.
The race was ridden at a fairly gentle pace for much of proceedings, with the eventual winner taking up a position at the front from the start and never relinquishing it.
Favourite Neon Wolf looked well placed just behind in the field for much of the race, but the Ruby Walsh-ridden Bacardys, second favourite before the race, suffered when Consul de Thaix had a bad fall with five fences to go and his race was effectively over as he was forced to the back in the ensuing chaos.
In the end the race came down to a shootout on the home straight between Willoughby Court and Neon Wolf and although the favourite came hard at the former, he was never able to get in front and was just pipped on the line in an extremely close finish.
Some observers originally thought there might be an enquiry into proceedings on the final straight, but replays proved Neon Wolf was not really inconvenienced by Willoughby Court and the result stood.
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