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Published: 13:58 | 16/3/16

Yorkhill lands Neptune

Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh combined for the fourth time this week as Yorkhill proved too strong for Yanworth in the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham.

The race boiled down to battle between the top two in the market but it was the Irish challenger who emerged victorious, taking the Grade 1 by a length-and-three-quarters.

Walsh settled the six-year-old on the inside in mid-division as stable companion Thomas Hobson took the field along.

With Yanworth racing on the outside, Walsh was able to pounce when a gap opened up against the rail on the run to the second last and rounding the home turn he edged in front of Barry Geraghty's mount.

Walsh set him free and he pinged the last fence before quickening clear. Yanworth battled all the way up the hill but Yorkhill was too strong.

"I'd hoped to sit fourth or fifth down the inner, but he was rank going to the start so I had to go back a bit further," Walsh said.

"The last thing I said I was going to do was be upsides at the last and in front for too long, but when I got to the second-last I couldn't resist and the gap opened up.

"He's a very, very good horse. David Casey rides him every morning and he was pretty adamant he wanted two and a half (miles) with better ground, and he was right.

"He could have been the best of the bumper horses last year but we didn't get to run him until just before Cheltenham and then he went and won in Punchestown.

"Since he came back in, a lot of people have been impressed with him. He's a fine specimen."

Reflecting on the race, Mullins added: "Ruby gave him a super ride - he needed a bit of luck. It opened up, and he shot through. He jumped the last well.

"We seriously thought about going for the Supreme, but the more I looked at it, the more I thought Altior was hard to beat and that this race was the one.

"He can go novice chasing, but we've sort of abandoned that to go down the Champion Hurdle route - he looked very sharp going off that bend. He's a real smart hurdler."

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