Press Association Reporter
Summerville Boy lunged late to claim a thrilling renewal of the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, the first race of the 2018 Cheltenham Festival.
The Willie Mullins-trained 7-4 favourite Getabird set out to make all the running under Ruby Walsh, but he was a spent force before the home turn and Amy Murphy’s Betfair Hurdle hero Kalashnikov straightened up in front.
Tom George’s Summerville Boy, a 9-1 shot in the hands of Noel Fehily, was untidy at the second flight from the finish and also the last, but he devoured the hill to get up and beat Kalashnikov in the dying strides. Mengli Khan was best of the rest in third.
Summerville Boy, ridden by Noel Fehily, won the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham
The 9-1 shot was untidy at the final two flights but he devoured the hill to beat Kalashnikov
Fehily salutes the Cheltenham crowd after securing the first winner of the 2018 Festival
SUPREME NOVICES’ HURDLE – RESULT
1. Summerville Boy
3. Mengli Khan
George said: ‘He got into the race and made his mistakes all at the wrong time. It shows you what he might have done had he not made those mistakes. He’s a brave, tough horse and it’s a privilege to have him.
‘He beat Kalashnikov fair and square in the Tolworth, four lengths going away. Today, we made some mistakes which made it a bit closer, but he’s done it and that’s the most important thing.
‘I’ve been lucky. We’ve had plenty of Grade Ones over the years, but to win a Supreme for the first time is great.’
The 7-4 favourite Getabird made all the running under Ruby Walsh before fading on Tuesday
Jack Quinlan rode Kalashinkov to within metres of victory but he had to settle for second
The packed Cheltenham crowd watch the first race of the 2018 Festival on Tuesday afternoon