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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 March 2006, 19:25 GMT
Brave Inca storms to Champion win
Brave Inca, ridden by Tony McCoy
Brave Inca put in a gutsy performance to claim victory
Brave Inca held off a strong challenge from Macs Joy to claim a thrilling victory in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham on Tuesday.

Tony McCoy rode the Colm Murphy-trained eight-year-old strongly up the hill to earn a splendid victory.

Hardy Eustace, ridden by Conor O'Dwyer and trained by Dessie Hughes, was bidding for a hat-trick of Champion Hurdle wins but came home third.

Al Eile finished fourth to complete an Irish clean sweep of the places.

"It's nice to get back after getting so close last year," said Murphy. "He's done everything the hard way, even today. He was up there all the way and he had a hard race.

"To get so close last year as a second-season novice and then to have that year under his belt has really made him. He's all there. He's a complete horse now."

Like Muhammad Ali said, you've got to have the will and the skill and the desire and this fellow's got it all
Brave Inca's jockey Tony McCoy

McCoy, punching the air as he returned to the winner's enclosure, hailed his mount's performance.

"He pricked his ears going to the second-last and he'd got loads left," he said.

"Like Muhammad Ali said, you've got to have the will and the skill and the desire and this fellow's got it all.

"I was a bit worried going past the water jump because I knew he would come off the bridle and I was frightened about getting after him too early.

"But I knew that even though he's lazy, he's certainly not slow and he picked up well when I asked him."

Voy Por Ustedes put up a brilliant performance to win a vintage renewal of the Irish Independent Arkle Challenge Trophy.

Ruby Walsh
Ruby Walsh celebrates his victory on Noland in the opener

But the progressive five-year-old, under Robert Thornton had a fight on his hands to get the better of Monet's Garden by one and a quarter lengths.

"He's not a big horse but he's got so much scope and has progressed all season," said victorious trainer Alan King.

"It looked a very strong Arkle and it was this lad's biggest test and he's come through it.

"He's always been a very sound horse, the only trouble is his mind because he can just get a bit volatile occasionally.

"I'd be perfectly happy if that was it for the season but we'll see how he comes out of it and if he did run again you'd look at Aintree."

Ruby Walsh is the odds-on favourite to be top jockey at the meeting after a 55-1 double.

He won the Supreme Novices' Hurdle on Noland (6-1) and followed that up with victory on Dun Doire (7-1) in the William Hill Trophy.

Native Jack gave the Irish their third winner of the day in the Sporting Index Handicap Chase.

Philip Rothwell's 12-year-old could land a 50,000 bonus if he can go on to lift the La Touche Cup at the upcoming Punchestown Festival.



SEE ALSO
Tuesday at Cheltenham
14 Mar 06 |  Horse Racing
Cheltenham photos
14 Mar 06 |  Photo Galleries


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