RYAN Hatch enjoyed a memorable win aboard the impressive Blaklion in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham.
Jamie Moore had been due to ride Nigel Twiston-Davies' charge in the Grade Two heat but, following a fall in the preceding race, he was stood down and Hatch took over the reins.
The conditional rider looked confident throughout aboard the 9-4 shot, sitting on the heels of the pacesetting Parish Business before making a notable move with three flights still to jump.
When Hatch gave the signal, Blaklion easily seized control and despite conceding upwards of 3lb all round, he was galloping all over his rivals at the top of the hill.
Hatch just had to keep him up to his work over the last two flights to go on and win by 11 lengths.
Anteros finished off his race well to land second, with 7-4 favourite Port Melon only third.
Hatch said: “Thanks to Nigel and the owners. Someone has to ride him and luckily it was me. I'm delighted.
“I thought he was maybe travelling a bit too well but he has a touch of class and I gave him a kick in the belly and he took off."
Twiston-Davies said: “We hope he goes to the top. He's obviously a stayer.
“He'd been point-to-point in Ireland before we got him and he's always been lovely, but we didn't think he'd be this good. The Albert Bartlett [back at Cheltenham next March] will be the aim with him, but we'll see how he is after this and look at what there is for him to decide if he runs before then."
The New One made it three wins in as many starts this term as he stamped his authority on the StanJames.com International Hurdle at Cheltenham.
Sent off the 4-7 favourite for trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies, The New One was settled in second by the trainer's son, Sam, as Zamdy Man opened up a sizeable early lead before being reeled back in at around the halfway point.
The New One was noted travelling well but his main market rival Vaniteux was matching his every stride, with the pair settling down to battle it out at the top of the hill.
Olofi tried to go with them but as the front pair upped it a notch, he was left behind, with Vaniteux trying his best to edge out the market leader.
However, The New One found plenty for his jockey's encouragement up the hill and eventually came home a four-and-a-half-length winner.
Sam Twiston-Davies said: “He's excellent. Coming into the race, we had to win it to become a Champion Hurdle contender. He wasn't flashy, but when he comes to the track he does what he needs to.”
The winner's stablemate Mad Moose also lined up for the Grade Two event on what was his first outing in over a year after being banned for refusing to race on numerous occasions.
Unfortunately, the veteran once again dug his heels in at the start and took no part.