Kilbricken Storm lands Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham

£30,000 Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle (Grade 2) 2m 7f 213y


Kilbricken Storm (Colin Tizzard/Harry Cobden, 3/1) came with a strong late run after the final flight to land the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle. Long-time leader and 7/4 favourite Count Meribel (Nigel Twiston-Davies/Mark Grant) looked to have the race for the taking but Kibricken Stor, despite drifting left, came with a strong run to score by two and three-quarter lengths.


Colin Tizzard said: "Kilbricken Storm is six, so it is not like he is a baby, and if he got beat today, we could have stepped him back down to two miles. He's not bad for a £21,000 horse from Doncaster last year and I wish we could find a few like him.


"He hangs a bit left but Harry always saves a bit for later on - he is never one to get into a battle a mile out. He looked beat to me after jumping the last but he got there easily in the end.


"He just surprised us from day one. He was a very good third first time out and then won when one of Paul Nicholls' horses fell, and he went and subsequently won, so it's all good form.


"We thought originally that we would give him three runs over two miles to get a handicap mark then step him up. It looks like we won't be running in handicaps for a while now.


"All roads lead to Cheltenham in March, which is why are here today. We will probably run him twice and come back for The Festival."


Harry Cobden added: "It took Kilbricken Storm a bit of time to warm up today and he hangs a little bit left. I had to come around horses turning in and managed to get him running down the hill.


"I knew that he would stay because that is all he does - he is a relentless galloper - but he has done it well. He was hanging left but hopefully that is something that they can sort out at home - apart from that, he is a lovely, straightforward horse.


"I would say that he would go on any ground. I am not sure whether he is good enough to win the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle at The Festival but he is a lovely, smart prospect for the team."


£30,000 OLBG Mares' Handicap Hurdle 2m 4f 56y


Jockey Harry Skelton brought up a 19.25/1 double on the day when partnering Momella (11st 7lb, 7/2 Jt Fav), trained by his brother Dan, to success in the concluding OLBG Mares' Handicap Hurdle.


Taking up the running turning for home, the five-year-old kept on well to repel the challenge of River Arrow (Tom Symonds/Jamie Moore, 10st 10lb, 20/1) by half a length with Graceful Legend (Ben Case/Max Kendrick (7), 11st 3lb, 20/1) another five lengths back in third.


Harry Skelton said: "Momella was really tough. She was giving a lot of weight to the second and has galloped all the way up the hill.


"She had a hell of a good race here the last day and I think that was one of the best novice hurdles that I have ridden in this year. Whatever the Irish have will need to be good to beat On The Blind Side at The Festival and it looks good form.


"We were thinking about this race or the three-mile novice hurdle but that distance for a five-year-old mare is just too much to ask, so that is why we went down the handicap route over two miles and five furlongs. She looks to be a nice, progressive mare.


"She was a bit slow over the first couple of hurdles and I thought that I needed to get her out because she might not like being in behind too much. She started jumping well then, came on the bridle coming down the hill and finished really well. I think three miles in time will suit her well."