CHAMPION trainer Paul Nicholls celebrated a double on the first day of the Open meeting at Cheltenham.
He got off the mark with Shooters Wood in the paddypower.com Handicap Chase and followed up with Dodging Bullets in the Opus Energy Novices’ Hurdle, both horses ridden by Ruby Walsh.
David Pipe made a winning start to the prestigious three-day meeting with the exciting Dynaste in the Steel Plate and Sections Novices’ Chase.
Dynaste cruised past his main rival Fingal Bay jumping the last fence and accelerated clear to score by four and a half lengths and stake an early claim to be one of this season’s top novice chasers.
Pipe said: “He was the highest-rated hurdler in the race today and was getting weight from Fingal Bay, so we have to put it into perspective, but saying that I wouldn’t swap him.”
Jockey Patrick Mullins and Uncle Junior won the Glenfarclas Cross-Country Chase for the second year in a row, beating Festival winner Balthazar King by 11 lengths.
Owner Brian Derrick enjoyed yet another notable success at Cheltenham as Buck Magic, trained Neil Mulholland, and Michael Byrne came out on top in a close finish to the Irish Times Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle.
After winning the first race with Dynaste, David Pipe completed a double with Swing Bill, ridden by Michael Ellis, in the closing Bates Hats Amateurs Riders’ Handicap Chase, to share first-day honours with Nicholls.