Dodging Bullets made all the running to land the Opus Energy Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham

Last Updated: 16/11/12 3:59pm

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Dodging Bullets: On top once again at Cheltenham

Dodging Bullets: On top once again at Cheltenham

Sky Bet

Dodging Bullets made all the running to land the Opus Energy Novices' Hurdle (Registered As The Sharp Novices' Hurdle) at Cheltenham.

With none of the jockeys prepared to set the pace early on, Ruby Walsh took the race by the scruff of the neck and dictated a very muddling pace.

All eight runners held a chance turning for home but the 5/4 favourite held them all off up the hill, and despite a bad mistake at the final flight, Paul Nicholls' ace was able to come home in-front.

Nicholls said: "He wants a fast-run race, he stays and this will have done him the world of good.

"He showed last year in the Triumph Hurdle that he's a classy horse but he was just struggling with his breathing.

"We might go for the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton on Boxing Day and then come back for the Supreme here - it's a long way off to start planning yet."

Nicky Henderson's River Maigue (4/1) made a strong challenge before the final hurdle but had to settle for second under Barry Geraghty, whilst Evan Williams' Court Minstrel (6/1) stayed on best to take third spot for Paul Moloney.

The winner, who was left unchanged by Sky Bet at 14/1 for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle in March, provided Nicholls and Walsh with a quick double following the victory of Shooters Wood in the preceding handicap chase.

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