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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 March, 2003, 15:32 GMT
Rooster Booster triumphs
Zara Phillips with winning jockey Richard Johnson
Winning jockey Johnson with girlfriend Zara Phillips

Rooster Booster produced a storming finish to take the Champion Hurdle, the top race on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival.

The 9-2 shot, trained by Philip Hobbs and ridden by Richard Johnson, pulled away in the final stages after Intersky Falcon had led the field for the first mile and a half.

Copeland, ridden by Tony McCoy, was in contention until falling at the third last.

The favourite for the race, Rhinestone Cowboy, came third after a disappointing run, with Westender in second.

"He's a very good little horse, he travels great and he's a good horse this year. He's the best hurdler I've ridden," said winning rider Johnson.

Trainer Hobbs said the preparations for the big race had been immaculate.

I was pleased to hear the commentator say Rhinestone Cowboy was in trouble at the top of the hill
Winning trainer
Philip Hobbs

"Everything has gone great in the last two weeks and everything went right today. I'm very pleased," said Hobbs.

"I was pleased to hear the commentator say Rhinestone Cowboy was in trouble at the top of the hill. He came there very easily and if anything he was in front too soon, but that couldn't be helped."

The win was also a very special moment for owner Terry Warner.

"It's the greatest day of my life, he's absolutely bolted up," he said.

"I couldn't believe he was so far clear, I was waiting for something to come and beat him. He won so easily really."

Last year's winner Hors La Loi III, one of 17 horses in the field, refused to start after a delay at the tapes, and was left behind.




WATCH AND LISTEN
Rooster Booster's jockey Richard Johnson
"He's a great little horse and a big star now"



CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL 2003

MEETING REVIEW
CORNELIUS LYSAGHT

BIG-RACE ACTION
DAILY REPORTS

PHOTO GALLERIES

JOCKEYS PROFILED
CHELTENHAM JOCKEYS PROFILED
 
TRAINERS PROFILED
 



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