Seuil seals victory for McCoy

Taquin Du Seuil - on his way to victory under Tony McCoy

Taquin Du Seuil - on his way to victory under Tony McCoy

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Taquin Du Seuil, rdden by Tony McCoy and trained by Jonjo O’Neill won a dramatic race for the JLT Novices’ Chase, the opening contest on day three of the Cheltenham Festival.

He got the better of Uxizandre by three parts of a length.

One of the winner’s main rivals, Oscar Whisky, came down at the first fence, brining down Mozoltov.

It was McCoy’s first Festival win of the week.

Taquin Du Seuil, a 7-1 shot, was noted moving into contention at the top of the hill and he swooped after the last to deny game front-runner Uxizandre, owned by JP McManus.

Double Ross made it a thrilling three-way duel but had to settle for minor honours in a tight finish.

McCoy said: “I’m a bit gutted I beat my boss (McManus), but obviously delighted for Jonjo.

“I always had great faith in this horse.

“He stays well and is quite cute, he saves a little bit for himself.

“I’m delighted for Jonjo. He’s a great fellow to work for.”

Bookmaker Paddy Power made Taquin Du Seuil a 25-1 shot for next year’s Gold Cup.

Robert Thornton quickly assumed control on Uxizandre and while McCoy never appeared to be travelling that well on Taquin Du Seuil he quietly worked his way into contention.

As the pace turned up again, Djakadam came to grief, appearing to impede Wonderful Charm and favourite Felix Yonger in the process.

Up front the first three home had already kicked clear, with Taquin Du Seuil and the masterful McCoy winning by three-quarters of a length with Double Ross a length and a quarter back in third.

O’Neill said: “We’ve always believed in him since we’ve had him. It’s been frustrating a little bit this season because the races haven’t been run at any pace.

“Today they went a good gallop which suited him.

“I need to thank JP (McManus) for letting Tony off to ride him for us and his horse ran a blinder, but we needed all of AP today.

“I was worried about the ground but they put a bit of water on last night.

“He’s got a long stride, but AP knows him well and if he’d asked him for a couple of big leaps he’d have landed on top of them, he was clever as they were going a fair gallop.

“It should ease the pain in AP’s back (after a fall on Wednesday).

“We believe he’s got a lot of speed and we did try him over two miles.

“Hopefully he’ll step up to the Gold Cup trip now - you’ve got nothing if you haven’t got dreams in this game.”