Editeur Du Gite does his best Sire De Grugy impression

Editeur Du Gite held on gamely to make all in the Mucking Brilliant Paddy Power Handicap Chase at Cheltenham.

Gary Moore’s seven-year-old – running in the same colours as former stable star Sire De Grugy – was challenged strongly by Stolen Silver on the run-in, but found more close home to win by a neck.

Niall Houlihan made his intentions clear from the start on Editeur Du Gite (4-1), who soon got into a rhythm and put in a good round of jumping.

He had a bit left in the tank to keep the runner-up at bay, as the first two pulled 10 lengths clear of Bun Doran in third.

Moore said: “It’s nice to come here and have a winner where the owners had their biggest day, and me (with Sire De Grugy, winner of the Champion Chase in 2014).

“He’s a very good jumper and he is probably better going left-handed on a level track. I was slightly concerned about the undulations of this place, but you’d probably eke a bit more improvement at Liverpool. That is where you’ll probably see the best of him.

“There wasn’t a lot of pace in the race and he was getting a freebie in front most of the way round, that was allowing him to jump. He got into a beautiful rhythm. That’s what helped him win the race. He’s got amazing pace.”

Editeur Du Gite in full flight
Editeur Du Gite in full flight (Zac Goodwin/PA)

On plans, Moore said: “He’s in the valuable race at Ascot (Hurst Park Handicap Chase), but that’s coming too soon and it’s right-handed. There’s always the Game Spirit at Newbury, which is never the strongest two-mile race.

“That would be at the back of my mind, but I want to go back to Liverpool (for the Red Rum Handicap Chase he won last year).”

Houlihan said: “As you saw at Aintree last year, he’s a classy sort. He loves to get up front, he’s a brilliant jumper and great with his feet. He came up at the last like the little bunny he is.

“I went quick over the first four and I just used his jumping and his natural gait to give the the others a lead. I just pulled out down the back there and my fella just filled up, jumped and kept filling.

“I was very lucky to get the ride, it would have been Josh Moore riding and I hope he has a fast recovery, hopefully he’s back on him here in March.”

Mc Alpine (centre) on the way to victory
Mc Alpine (centre) on the way to victory (David Davies/PA)

Irish raider Mc Alpine stormed up the hill to spring a 33-1 upset in the Valda Energy Novices’ Handicap Hurdle.

The seven-year-old was giving County Wicklow trainer Philip Rothwell compensation for the narrow defeat of Singing Banjo in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase, where he was 13lb wrong in the weights.

James Sullivan, who claims 5lb, brought Mc Alpine through the pack to jump into the lead at the final fence.

He galloped clear to score by two and a quarter lengths from 50-1 outsider Castel Gandolfo, with Kavanaghs Cross (18-1) a head away in third and City Derby (10-1) another neck back in fourth.

An emotional Rothwell said: “This is special. Fifteen years ago I won the cross country here (with Native Jack at the Festival) and I didn’t think it would take 15 years to get back here (Cheltenham winner’s enclosure). I love it and it means so much, it’s my favourite place in the whole wide world.

“I’ve been second a few times and obviously had the Festival winner here, I’d love another one. We’re a small yard and to have a winner today is very special. I know it was 15 years because two days before the cross-country victory my daughter was born! It’s very special.”

Sullivan was winning at Cheltenham for the first time and said: “It is unbelievable and it makes all the bad days, sweating and driving up and down the country all worthwhile.

“He is one of those horses that is improving and I thought he would run into a place.”

Art Approval strikes for Fergal O'Brien
Art Approval strikes for Fergal O’Brien (David Davies/PA)

Art Approval justified strong market support when scooting up the stands rail to take the Markel Insurance Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle.

Fergal O’Brien’s charge reaped the benefit of his fourth place on this course on his seasonal debut three weeks ago to win in good style.

Leading before the final flight, the 100-30 chance galloped stoutly up the hill to beat Paricolor, who was on the far side of the track, by two and three-quarter lengths.

There was drama after the first flight where 3-1 favourite An Tailliur unseated Kevin Brogan following a bad mistake, while it was a winning spare ride for Peter Kavanagh. He replaced Liam Harrison, who took a fall at Sedgefield on Thursday.

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