Great day for Stay Away Fay and Paul Nicholls in Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle
Paul Nicholls earned his second Grade One victory of the week at the Cheltenham Festival when Stay Away Fay was given a masterful ride by Harry Cobden to take the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle.
The 18-1 chance travelled well throughout and was always up with the pace in the three-mile test, which provided its usual searching test of stamina.
It was not without incident, either, as favourite Corbetts Cross ran out at the final flight, sending jockey Mark Walsh crashing to the turf.
Though challenging at the time, the winner seemed to have his measure having led at the second-last where plenty were still in with a chance.
Cobden put the six-year-old’s stamina to good use and gradually wore down his rivals to give the champion trainer his first success in the race.
Noel Meade’s Affordale Fury (150-1) relished the step up in trip and got within a length of the winner, just holding second from the Paul Nolan-trained Sandor Clegane.
Nicholls said: “I thought he’d run well as he should have won the last day and he’s taken a step forward since then and he looked fantastic.
“We were very positive on him today, he jumped really well and it’s only the third run of his life, there’s loads of improvement to come.
“We’ll probably go to Aintree with him if he’s all right, otherwise it will be chasing next year.
“He’s been quite backward, that’s the best he’s jumped today, he’s just a young, improving horse.”
He added: “At home he does all his work with Hermes Allen as they are both a bit one-paced and he has taken a big step forward.
“He probably should have won at Doncaster, he’s improved since and it’s just fantastic.
“I think Hermes Allen will probably have a wind op but he’ll go chasing too, they are two really nice horses to go chasing with.”