Anteros has the solution

Outsider Anteros (20/1) ran out a surprise winner of the Regulatory Finance Solutions Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Anteros and Paul Townend jump the last in the clear

The experienced eight-year-old was fitted with cheekpieces for the first time by trainer Sophie Leech who engaged leading Irish jockey Paul Townend for the ride.

The combination certainly clicked as the lightly weighted runner made the most of the weight that he received from his rivals to run out a comfortable seven length winner.

Bridget Andrews attempted to make all aboard Corrin Wood, who was making his first start for Dan Skelton, and coming down the hill it appeared as though the tactics could pay off.

The majority of the field failed to get to the nine-year-old but Anteros suddenly loomed large in the wing mirrors with Townend sitting still in the saddle.

The response was immediate when he asked Anteros to go and win his race and he galloped on strongly up the hill to collect the Listed contest.

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Leech said: "I always thought he could win a nice handicap like this as he's always been a nice horse.

"There's so much work that goes into him as he's never been easy to train. He was very keen as a young horse and he's just very late maturing.

"Every summer on his back he's done better physcially and matured mentally.

"He just needs to be produced at the right moment as he doesn't find much off the bridle, but it worked out great today. It's a massive boost for our yard."

Leech credited the decision to apply cheekpieces to Townend, who said: "I do think they helped today. I rode him here the last day and he travelled extremely well going down the hill but didn't find a lot at the bottom of it.

"He won so well, but he loves it here. We were always going to take our time with him and it just worked out."

Almost as pleased with second place was Dermot Hanafin, joint-owner of runner-up Corrin Wood, who has been brought back to some form by a move to join Dan Skelton.

"No disrespect to Donald, but he needed a change of scenery," said Hanafin. "All we wanted today was for him to finish. He'd lost the plot but Dan has got him back.

"It was a fantastic ride today by Bridget. I had my reservations beforehnd, because she rode Debdebdeb for me at Ascot and it didn't go well, but she redeemed herself!

"He'll have one more race over hurdles now and then go for the Midlands National."

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