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2008 Cheltenham Festival

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8 of 10

2008 Ballymore Properties Novices' Hurdle
2008 Ballymore Properties Novices' Hurdle

Ruby Walsh on Fiveforthree (right) clear the last to win the 2008 Ballymore Properties Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham Racecourse.

Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
The first Grade 1 stakes event on the closing day of the Festival was the £120,000 Ballymore Properties Novices' Hurdle (G1) (registered as the Baring Bingham Novices' Hurdle). A field of 15 horses aged 4 and up contested the 2 9/16 mile trip over 10 hurdles. 7-1 shot Fiveforthree was held up at the back of the field early, off the pace set by 200-1 outsider King In Waiting, then moved up to challenge with 3 jumps to go, then drew even with 11-1 Venalmar at the last jump. The pair dueled through the stretch but Fiveforthree dug in late to prevail by a neck in 5:02.20 over the good to soft course. It was another 4 lengths back to 9-1 Trafford Lad in third, while 4-1 favorite Aigle D'Or failed to fire and finished 13th.

Winning trainer Willie Mullins said, "I thought we'd be going for the Supreme after his win at Fairyhouse, but when I looked at his stamina-laden pedigree and realized (jockey) Ruby Walsh was available for this I changed my mind. He'll go to Punchestown and will make a cracking chaser next season."

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