Cheltenham Festival: Stage Star wins Turner Novices' Chase

Stage Star wins the Turner Novices’ Chase in the first race of Day Three at the Cheltenham Festival – with favourite Mighty Potter back in third

  • Stage Star won the Turner Novices’ Chase on day three at Cheltenham Festival 
  • Harry Cobden brought Paul Nicholls’ horse home, with Mighty Potter in third
  • Cheltenham Festival LIVE: All the action, updates, tips and insight from day three
  • Click here for the latest Cheltenham Festival news, schedule and race results

Stage Star has triumphed in the Turner Novices’ Chase on the third day of the Cheltenham Festival to end Paul Nicholls’ three-year drought at the meet.

On the first race of St Patrick’s Thursday, jockey Harry Cobden guided the 15-2 bet to victory by a little more than three lengths ahead of Notlongtillmay in second after an assured jumping performance.

Pre-race favourite Mighty Potter, ridden by Davy Russell, was third, with Appreciate It in fourth.

Cobden, the first to ride a Nicholls winner at Cheltenham since Politilogue in the 2020 Champions Chase, said: ‘It’s lovely. I thought it was easy when I rode my first winner here at the age of 18. 

‘The second came quickly but since then it’s been a four-year drought.’ 

Stage Star (above) won the Turner Novices’ Chase on the third day of the Cheltenham Festival

It was a surprise victory for Paul Nicholls (left) after a superb ride from Harry Cobden (right)

The win sees trainer Nicholls end his three-year drought at Cheltenham – with jockey Cobden providing Nicholls’ first win at the meet since Politilogue in the 2020 Champions Chase


Cheltenham Festival, Day Three, 1.30pm 

1. Stage Star (Harry Cobden) 15-2

2. Notlongtillmay (Laura Morgan) 40-1

3. Mighty Potter (Davy Russell) 4-6 Favourite

Seven ran; NR: Banbridge (J. J. Slevin), Christopher Wood (Harry Bannister).

Nicholls added: ‘It’s been a tough week so far, but it’s a tough place. We were a little bit unlucky yesterday (Wednesday) with a couple, but that was brilliant. Different track, slightly better ground, it was always going to suit us.

‘I said to Harry today ‘be positive, bowl along in front and ride him like the best horse in the race’. He gave him a peach of a ride there… It has been a tough week so far and a tough couple of years. It’s hard to win here.

‘So to win with a horse we believed in, it didn’t go to plan last year, but he’s come back really good this year. It was a good race and he put it to bed really well.

‘We thought he would run really well, the last run was really good here with a big weight. He’s an improving horse and need him to take it to the next level. Today was a good test.’

Favourites Mighty Potter and Appreciate It started well, with outsider unexpected party in seventh, and it looked like the result would run true to form. But Stage Star took the lead towards the first fence and kept it for most of the race, with Notlongtillmay pushing hard and Appreciate It caught up at the back of the field. 

Though Notlongtillmay overtook into first place before the penultimate jump, Stage Star retook the lead with a massive leap as they headed into the final straight. 

Later to come on the third day are the Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle (2.10pm), the Ryanair Chase (2.50), the Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle (3.30), the Plate Handicap Chase (4.10), and the Mares Novices’ Hurdle (4.50).

The Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup at 5.30pm will round off the third day before the final day of the event on Friday.

The Nicholls camp (above) enjoyed joyous celebrations after winning on St Patrick’s Thursday

It was an assured jumping and galloping performance throughout from 15-2 horse Stage Star

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