£130,000 Unibet International Hurdle (Grade 2) 2m 179y
A thrilling renewal of the £130,000 Unibet International Hurdle, the richest race of the day, saw 10-year-old My Tent Or Yours (Nicky Henderson/Barry Geraghty, 5/1) gain a deserved success at the Home of Jump Racing. Owned by J P McManus, My Tent Or Yours was amazingly winning for the first time at Cheltenham, having finished runner-up three times in the G1 Unibet Champion Hurdle at The Festival (2014, 2016 & 2017).
My Tent Or Yours, The New One & Melon in today's Unibet International Hurdle
The New One (Nigel Twiston-Davies/Sam Twiston-Davies, 5/2) was attempting to win the Unibet International for a record fourth time and took the field along. He continued at the head of the affairs until headed by My Tent Or Yours approaching the last but battled on gamely, eventually going down by a length and a quarter.
Melon (Willie Mullins IRE/David Mullins) was the 7/4 favourite but was unable to reel in My Tent Or Yours and The New One after the last and had to settle for third place, another length adrift.
It was a 5.6/1 double on the day for owner J P McManus, trainer Nicky Henderson and jockey Barry Geraghty following the success of Apple's Shakira in the opening JCB Triumph Trial Hurdle.
Nicky Henderson said: "I have thought the world of My Tent Or Yours ever since he got his name and he was a bumper horse.
"You don't see horses that can come back and do battles like that at his age. That was a true race and he deserved that after three seconds in the Champion Hurdle."
Barry Geraghty said: "My Tent Or Yours has had some great runs here and that was brilliant. He deserved it - he has knocked on the door plenty - and he battled really well against an ultra-tough horse.
"It was teed up for a big finish and everyone was there. You never want to take on The New One too early and you wouldn't want to go two lengths clear because you know he will keep coming.
"If any of us missed the last, we were out of it. It took real professionals - horses that were really up for and knew what they were doing - and it was a great finish. It's always brilliant when you are on the right side of a result but it was as good a buzz as you can get in racing.
"It was his first time winning here and, if ever a horse deserved a big day at Cheltenham, it was him. Nicky said beforehand that he was in better form now than he was in the first part of last season so we were fairly hopeful.
"He is knocking on the door and, if you take one horse out of those three Champion Hurdles, then he is a triple winner who has beaten some very good horses. If he gets there in good shape again in March, then he will be involved."
J P McManus said: "Full marks to Nicky and the team. Nicky never lost faith in My Tent Or Yours - he always believed in him. Even as a 10-year-old, he said that the old spark was still there and he wouldn't be surprised if he won today."
Runner-up The New One was trying for a seventh win at Cheltenham and his jockey Sam Twiston-Davies said: "The New One has run a cracker. It was always going to be tough - My Tent Or Yours is a very good horse and, with the ground not being quite as hard work as last year's race, the 6lb has made all the difference. Even so, it was a very brave run all the same.
"His jumping was fantastic. It was as fast as I have gone over an obstacle in a very long time, even in this ground. The buzz you get from riding a special horse like him is magical. I know it's not always ideal to finish second but I'm not sure I could feel happier after finishing second."