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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 March, 2005, 17:34 GMT
Tuesday at Cheltenham
All the action as it happened from the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival meeting.

A huge crowd was at Prestbury Park, which is staging a four-day Festival for the first time.

Tuesday's feature race, the Smurfit Champion Hurdle, went to Hardy Eustace, who held off the challenge of Harchibald and Brave Inca for back-to-back wins in the race.

Arcalis, owned by multi-millionaire Graham Wylie and ridden by Graham Lee, took the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at 20-1.

Trainer Martin Pipe continued his superb record in the Arkle Trophy when the 7-1 shot Contraband, ridden by Timmy Murphy, emerged victorious.


1720 - Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (2m f)
1. Dabiroun (Miss N Carberry) 20-1
2. At Your Request (D Dennis) 33-1
3. Nation State (JE Moore) 7-1
4. Miss Academy (TJ Murphy) 16-1
24 ran. Dist: 8, 1

Jockey Nina Carberry claimed her first ever Festival success with a comfortable success on the Paul Nolan-trained Dabiroun.

Carberry, the sister of Paul, had a dream ride and moved to challenge At Your Request coming to the last.

The pair jumped the last but once she overtook David Dennis' mount there was no other challenger to be seen.

Jockey Jamie Moore and Nation State ran on well for third for his father Gary.

1640 - The Cross Country Steeplechase (3m 7f)
1. Spot Thedifference (JT McNamara) 4-1
2. Luzcadou (A O'Keeffe) 22-1
3. Mrs Be (Miss P Gundry) 20-1
4. Lord Noelie (JM Maguire) 14-1
16 ran. Dist: 2, 6

Spot Thedifference defied top weight to claim a superb victory in the inaugural running of the cross-country race.

Jockey JT McNamara dropped his horse back during the race with the pace proving too tough but McNamara never panicked and eventually mounted his challenge at the right time.

The Cheltenham specialist claimed his third win in a row in the track to give owner JP McManus another big race win.

Luzcadou and Alan O'Keeffe held on well for second with Mrs Be and Lord Noelie both putting in brave runs for the minor places

1600 - William Hill Trophy Handicap Steeplechase (3m f)
1. Kelami (R Thornton) 8-1
2. Keen Leader (BJ Geraghty) 28-1
3. Irish Hussar (M Fitzgerald) 33-1
4. Chives (D Elsworth) 50-1
20 ran. Dist: 1, 2

Kelami put in a strong run to take the William Hill Trophy and give jockey Robert Thornton his second consecutive win in the race after success on Fork Lightning 12 months ago.

Top weight Keen Leader had taken the lead under Barry Geraghty with three fences to go but the Francois Doumen-trained Kelami was carrying over a stone and a half less and made that count.

Thornton took over the lead coming to the final fence and jumped it ahead of his rivals.

Although Keen Leader cut the lead in the final stages and with Irish Hussar and Mick Fitzgerald also challenging, Thornton managed to hold on.

1515 - Smurfit Champion Hurdle (2m f)
1. Hardy Eustace (C O'Dwyer) 7-2jf
2. Harchibald (P Carberry) 7-1
3. Brave Inca (BM Cash)10-1
14 ran. Dist: nk, nk

A thrilling finish saw Hardy Eustace successfully defend his Champion Hurdle title, edging out Harchibald and Brave Inca on the line.

Hardy Eustace had been in contention throughout, setting the early pace and Conor O'Dwyer worked his mount hard.

But the rest of the field caught up and the leading three jumped the last almost together but Hardy Eustace showed the best turn of foot up the hill.

Paul Carberry drew Harchibald alongside but he failed to show any urgency in the closing stages and Dessie Hughes' eight-year-old showed his bravery for a famous victory by a neck.

1435 - Irish Independent Arkle Challenge Trophy Steeplechase (2m)
1. Contraband (TJ Murphy) 7-1
2. Ashley Brook (PJ Brennan) 20-1
3. River City (T Doyle)10-1
19 ran. Dist: 1,4

Contraband jumped the last fence superbly and ran strongly up the Cheltenham hill to give trainer Martin Pipe his fourth win in the race.

But jockey Timmy Murphy had to survive a nerve-wracking stewards inquiry before being confirmed as the winner.

Ashley Brook had been in the lead from the start but Contraband started to challenge coming to the last.

Under pressure, Paddy Brennan's mount made a mistake on landing at the last which cost him the race and although he rallied in the closing stages, Contraband and Murphy were able to hold on for victory with River City third.

The 11-4 favourite War of Attrition was well-beaten back down the field.

1400 - Letheby & Christopher Supreme Novices Hurdle (2m f)
1. Arcalis (G Lee) 20-1
2. Wild Passion (P Carberry) 10-1
3. Dusky Warbler (JE Moore) 20-1
20 ran. Dist: 6,

Arcalis showed a tremendous turn of foot up the Cheltenham Hill to give jockey Graham Lee his first ever Festival victory.

Lee had his mount well-placed throughout the race and he was able to easily outpace Wild Passion after the final fence.

Chilling Place and Justified had set much of the early pace but faded in the closing stages as Wild Passion mounted a challenge.

But Arcalis jumped the last superbly ran on well and the smart ex-Flat horse gave big-money owner Graham Wylie a sweet success and a perfect opener to the meeting.

Wild Passion held on for second with Dusky Warbler just behind in third.


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