The 8/11 favourite Mighty Potter was well beaten by Harry Cobden on board Stage Star in the opening race of day three at Cheltenham Festival. The Paul Nicholls trained horse led the race from the front and the rest of the pack simply couldn’t live with him.
The 40/1 shot Notlongtilmay gave him the best competition as we entered the closing stages and it was a real win for the popular trainer and Cobden, who rode him perfectly. All the hype coming into the race was for Mighty Potter who was a short-priced favourite and many people’s Nap of the day.
However, he was in midfield for the entire race and then failed to close the ground in the final stages as Stage Star powered away from the rest of the field. Davy Russell’s ride eventually came home in third while Appreciate It stayed in fourth after a disappointing run.
It was a race that Cobden simply made look easily. Stage Star moved into the lead early on, with Balco Coastal in second and Notlongtilmay in third. It was an even pace as Stage Star stretched out in front, unchallenged. Meanwhile, Appreciate It was near the back but jumping well with 12 to go.
The two favourites ran side by side in fourth and fifth with ten to go as Stage Star continued to set the pace at the front. Appreciate It settled on the outside as Mighty Potter was still in midfield with six to go. Stage Star still led, with four to go and then the rest of the pack started to try and make their moves.
Appreciate It moved forward from the back With two to go Notlongtilmay pressed the leader as an injection of pace was put into the race by the front two. Appriciate It jumped across Mighty Potter at the second last which hampered the progress but in truth, they were never going to get near Stage Star.
What a performance and a 15/2 winner in the first!
1 Stage Star (H Cobden) 15-2
2 Notlongtillmay (Adam Wedge) 40-1
3 Mighty Potter (D N Russell) 4-6 Fav
*18+ | Be Gamble Aware | Odds subject to change
Stage Star makes most to land the G1 Turner Novices' Chase under a fine ride from @CobdenHarry for @ownersgroupuk