Impervious battled to a well-earned success in the Mrs Paddy Power Mares' Chase, as Colm Murphy returned to the Cheltenham winner’s circle.

The JP McManus-owned seven-year-old found herself locked in a race for the line with Willie Mullins’ Allegorie De Vassy.

Under Brian Hayes it was Impervious who got her head in front, triumphing to maintain her unbeaten record over fences.

It was a fifth Festival success for Murphy, but the first since Empire Of Dirt in 2016 for the man who saddled Brave Inca to land the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in 2004 and the Champion Hurdle two years later.

Murphy said: "I’m absolutely delighted, she was very tough, it’s fantastic.

"To be stood here again is one of the reasons I came back (after spell away from training), this is why we all do it. I’m just fortunate enough to have another really good one.

"I’ve always really liked her, right through her bumper and hurdle days. You hope and hope that one day they’ll go and do what she’s just done.

"Looking at that I would agree that she’d get further if we wanted her to, I’d say we’ve got loads of options with her.

"I actually don’t know if she’ll run again this season. I’d say we’ll get her home, give her a few entries and take it from there.

"I was wearing a lucky shamrock, it’s clearly done the trick."

Prolific point-to-point winner Premier Magic, trained and ridden by Bradley Gibbs, sprang a 66-1 shock in the St. James's Place Festival Challenge Cup Open Hunters' Chase.

Rocky’s Howya had made much of the running and was still upsides jumping the second last as Gibbs made his move.

Though looking booked for minor honours, he was hampered by a loose horse and as Premier Magic started to empty, Its On The Line (28-1) stayed on late under Derek O’Connor.

Yet the winner just had enough in reserve to fend off the challenge and win by a length and three-quarters, with Shantou Flyer (50-1) finishing third.

For Gibbs, who equipped the gelding with cheekpieces, it was a career-high moment, yet it was also slightly bittersweet.

He said: "The worst part about it is my partner and my son aren’t here today. We couldn’t get a babysitter and my dad’s in hospital having a heart operation today. It’s really special but I just wish they could have been here.

Bradley Gibbs celebrates aboard Premier Magic

"It was unbelievable, my fiancee’s father owns him and we came here last year thinking we had a chance.

"I rode him down the inside and everything just got a bit tight for him, he just got stage fright really. I rode him wide today and he was a completely different horse.

"The way he’s been winning his point-to-points, we always thought he was good enough to win a big race like this and thank god it’s paid off today."

Winning owner, Julian Sherriff, was one of the few who made the most of the 10-year-old’s generous odds.

He said: "We bought him four or five years ago in Ireland and he’s done us proud in points and hunter chases but this is absolutely fantastic.

"Bradley said he had a real chance and so increased my bet, and I got 100-1.

"He’s got an engine on him, what a horse, it makes everything you put into the game worth it."


Dan Skelton annexed the McCoy Contractors County Handicap Hurdle for a fourth time in eight years as 33-1 shot Faivoir downed Pied Piper in a thrilling finish.

Both horses came from out of the pack after Highway One O Two had kicked clear turning for home and there were plenty in with chances approaching the last.

Faivoir (L) lands after the last alongside Pied Piper

However, Bridget Andrews' mount, who had been pulled up on quicker ground in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury on his previous start, kept responding in these easier conditions and got the verdict in a head-bobber.

Pied Piper, who had finished third in the Triumph Hurdle last year, was making his handicap debut mark off a mark of 154 and only just failed to reel in the winner, having nodded slightly on landing at the last.

The well-supported Filey Bay held every chance but could only finish third, while Sharjah stuck on for fourth, followed by Ballyadam.

Skelton, who won this race previously with Superb Story (2016), Mohaayed (2018) and Ch'tibello (2019), also saddled the favourite, but Pembroke, who had finished runner-up on Trials day in January, was well held after making a couple of minor jumping errors.

Iroko landed the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle for Aidan Kelly and co-trainers Oliver Greenall and Josh Guerriero.

The JP McManus-owned gelding was a 6-1 chance and reeled in the leader, Paul John Gilligan’s Buddy One, to prevail by a length and a half from No Ordinary Joe – also owned by McManus.

"I can’t describe it really – amazing," said Greenall.

"We always knew the horse was nice but we just thought we’d be tapped for toe a little bit here.

"He managed to hold his position, he came off the bridle early enough and just jumped so well even when he was off the bridle.

"He’s so easy, so straightforward. He’s tough, honest, he shows nothing at home.

"He’s not a good work horse but he’s so straightforward, he doesn’t take much work. He’s a dream."