Cheltenham 2016 results: Superb Story writes history to give Skelton brothers their maiden Festival win

Superb Story, ridden by Harry Skelton for trainer and brother Dan, picked the right time to burst clear and win the County Handicap Hurdle

Graham Clark,Ashley Iveson
Friday 18 March 2016 15:21
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Harry Skelton celebrates winning the County Handicap Hurdle on Superb Story
Harry Skelton celebrates winning the County Handicap Hurdle on Superb Story

Superb Story gave brothers Dan and Harry Skelton their taste of first Festival success when winning a dramatic race for the Vincent O'Brien County Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Superb Story led after jumping what should have been the second-last but the final flight was omitted while Wayne Hutchinson received treatment for a fall from Montbazon on the first circuit.

Thankfully, Hutchinson eventually got up and walked away.

In a fast and furious encounter, the well-backed Great Field pulled his way to the front after taking the first.

Though he finally did settle in front, his exertions must have taken their toll.

Harry Skelton celebrates winning the County Handicap Hurdle on Superb Story

Harry Skelton brought Superb Story with a well-judged challenge and the 8-1 shot galloped on resolutely to score by two and a half lengths from 33-1 chance Fethard Player.

The always-prominent Sternrubin was two and a half lengths away third with Wait For Me (7-1 joint-favourite) fourth.

Harry Skelton said: said: "Magic. I've been saying for the last two weeks I couldn't see him getting beat, which sounds a silly thing to say before a County. I've never fancied one as much as this.

"It's great for all the staff because they work so hard, I'm the lucky one who gets to ride them.

"We've hit every bit of woodwork this week, I was speaking to Ted Walsh and he just said to slot him in and let it happen and we've hit the goal.

"I'm so thankful to Dan and to my dad (Nick Skelton, Olympic showjumper) for their belief in me.

"I was in front a minute too soon but I saw we weren't jumping the last so I thought 'right, let's go'."

Dan Skelton said: "It means everything, I'm so pleased Harry was on my first winner, too.

"I knew it would come one day, but it's amazing - the horses have been in great form, I knew he wouldn't be far away but he's got to do it on the day.

"This is the greatest day, it might be overshadowed by the Gold Cup and Victoria Pendleton, but I couldn't give a monkey's!

"It shows how tough the competition is that if this was an English-only Festival I'd have had four winners. I know there's only Irish and a few French, but this is our global championship."

A proud Nick Skelton said: "I'm so delighted for them, they work really hard.

"Harry's been saying for two weeks this horse would win. Everything worked out. I thought he'd committed too early, but he knew what he had underneath."

Result

1. Superb Story (8/1) 2. Fethard Player (33/1) 3. Sternrubin (33/1) 4. Wait For Me (7-1F)

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