Paul Townend powers Penhill to victory in the Albert Bartlett
Penhill came from way off the pace to come out on top in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle as Ireland continued to dominate at Cheltenham.
Successful with Arctic Fire in the County Hurdle earlier on the card, Willie Mullins was winning his sixth race of the Festival and Paul Townend his second.
Ami Desbois did the donkey work to two out but there were soon just three vying for victory with Penhill, Monalee and Wholestone taking over.
The latter was the first to crack and try as Monalee could, Penhill (16-1) held the aces as he powered up the hill to win by three and a half lengths. Wholestone was four lengths away in third.
Townend said: "He's a class horse, we kept him wide to get into a rhythm.
"I won on him over three miles at Christmas at Limerick on heavy ground and he saw it out really well."
Owner Tony Bloom, chairman of Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club, said: "I'm over the moon for everyone involved, it was a great ride by Paul and it's a brilliant horse we have here.
"He was looking good all the way and two out we were expecting him to win, his hurdling was a lot better than it has been and he's got the pace.
"Racing over three miles has been the making of him, as it gives him more time for his jumping.
"I haven't had many Cheltenham runners, so it is very exciting. I've brought a lot of friends and they're all on at 16 and 20-1."