Cheltenham Festival: Buveur D'Air edges Melon in Champion Hurdle – live!

Updates from day one of the Festival
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3.49pm GMT
Here’s more reaction from jockey Lizzie Kelly and trainer Nick Williams, after Coo Star Sivola won the Ultima Handicap Chase:
Lizzie Kelly: “I can’t believe it. The people who are behind me are one in a million and I have several of them. I came here today and it was like I’d grown up five years. I felt the pressure of course, we all do, but I was just pleased to be here. Last year wasn’t a great year, so I was just happy to be here. I felt relaxed and couldn’t wait to get to the start. I had a dream ride, really. I knew he would gallop up the hill, but my goodness that was the longest hill in the world! It feels so surreal, it feels like I’ll wake up in a minute.”
Nick Williams: “My heart was absolutely pounding. I was jumping up and down myself in the closing stages. I couldn’t believe it halfway up the run-in when I thought we might get caught again. The expectation for a six-year-old novice was massive, but he’s always run well here. It’s his track. It’s fantastic to win, it had all looked to be going to plan up until the final fence and then the other horse started closing with every stride. It’s fantastic for Lizzie – her first Festival winner. It couldn’t be better. It was all perfection.”
3.43pm GMT
Had Melon taken that race, Mullins would have cut the gap to two wins in his battle with Nicky Henderson. Instead, Henderson restores his all-time four-race lead with a seventh Champion Hurdle win. Here’s what the trainer had to say:
“What a great race. They’ve gone at a gallop that you wouldn’t believe they could keep up on that ground. He had a battle on his hands today… it’s always worried me that he hasn’t had much of a race this year. That’s the first time he’s had to have a fight.”
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