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Buveur D'Air wins Champion Hurdle in style

Noel Fehily celebrates his winning ride on Buveur D'Air. Credit: PA

On the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival, Buveur D'Air ran out a brilliant winner of the showpiece Champion Hurdle, powering clear in the hands of jockey Noel Fehily to beat stablemate My Tent Or Yours, who finished second for the third time.

Fehily said of his 5-1 winner: "Early on I felt I was doing too much and I thought it took me a while to get him switched off.

"He's just a very good horse. It's just fantastic. It was a great performance."

To watch highlights of the race, and for more Cheltenham updates, visit the ITV Racing website

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Sprinter Sacre soars in Queen Mother Champion Chase

Sprinter Sacre raised the roof by regaining his crown in the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham.

Invincible when imperious in this race three years ago, Sprinter Sacre has had a succession of well-documented problems but has been brought back by his trainer Nicky Henderson to be the top two-miler again.

Sprinter Sacre (5-1) surged past a tame Un De Sceaux. Credit: PA

Sprinter Sacre (5-1) surged past a tame Un De Sceaux two out and pulled clear under Nico de Boinville to bring a packed house down at Prestbury Park.

Un De Sceaux, the 4-6 favourite, was still second best, beaten three and a half lengths behind the popular winner after being unable to dominate in his usual manner.

The pace had been set by Special Tiara (16-1), who was just a nose behind Un De Sceaux in third.

Henderson said: "It's been a long, long journey - those were two very, very grim years.

"That was unbelievable. That was about dreams, wasn't it?"

Racing sadness at news of McNamara paralysis

Jockey JT McNamara is said to be in a "very positive" frame of mind despite the injury. Credit: PA

Grand National-winning rider Mick Fitzgerald has spoken of his sadness and of the risks involved in racing after it was revealed by the family of rider JT McNamara that the serious neck injury he suffered in a fall at the Cheltenham Festival has led to paralysis.

Leading amateur McNamara, 37, was injured when Galaxy Rock fell at the first fence in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup and had to be airlifted to Bristol, where he remains, although plans are to be made for a transfer to Dublin in due course.

Fitzgerald told Sky Sports News: "It's a mixture of sadness, it's the end of a great career for a jockey who was an amateur and did it because he loved the game.

"When it happened at the time a sombre (mood) descended on Cheltenham, everyone had everything crossed and plenty of people were praying their worse fears wouldn't be realised.

"This is the end of a glittering career."

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