Cheltenham Festival: Ballyalton comes out on top

Jockey Brian Hughes celebrates on board Ballyalton after victory in the Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase during Champion Day of the 2016 Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo
Jockey Brian Hughes celebrates on board Ballyalton after victory in the Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase during Champion Day of the 2016 Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo
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Ballyalton returned to his best form to claim the Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase at Cheltenham.

The nine-year-old had failed to win in four previous starts over fences after finishing second to Faugheen in the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle in 2014.

He showed that he had fully got over his heavy fall at Ascot last month to strike for trainer Ian Williams.

Ballyalton (12-1) was challenged hard by Bouvreuil (14-1) at the last, but he battled on courageously for Brian Hughes to get the verdict by half a length.

The always-prominent Double Shuffle (8-1) was four and a half lengths away third with Bridgets Pet (33-1) fourth.

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