sport

Holywell strikes again

Holywell struck for the second year running at the Cheltenham Festival when taking the Baylis & Harding Affordable Luxury Handicap Chase.

Ma Filleule took a narrow lead over the final fence, but Holywell (10-1) battled stoutly up the hill to get his head in front and keep the mare at bay by a length and three-quarters.

The Package was seven lengths away in third with Green Flag fourth.

Richie McLernon was the lucky rider for the second year running as Tony McCoy was aboard Jonjo O'Neill's other runner, the 7-1 favourite Alfie Sherrin, who was successful in this race for owner JP McManus in 2012.

McLernon said: "This lad has got a home for life with me if he needs it! "He was dynamite. He jumped brilliantly and travelled - I took him some places and he got me out of them every time.

"He has a great trainer, the best in England and Ireland - he's brilliant and absolutely gifted. Today is what it's all about."

O'Neill said: "He's a great little horse to come back here and do that.

"Early on in the season he slipped into a fence at Carlisle and lost his confidence a little bit.

"It took him a while to get going and then we thought we had him going at Catterick.

"Then he was fairly average at Doncaster, I know he won but he was disappointing and I thought 'the fences are going to look very big on him at Cheltenham'.

"He's gutsy and Richie had him in the right place. He gave him a great spin and I only saw him miss one (fence).

"I'd say a big field and a good gallop suits him down to the ground.

"It's magic (to get a Cheltenham winner)."