Ruby Walsh picked up his 50th Cheltenham Festival success as he piloted Black Hercules to victory in the JLT Novices' Chase, as the Willie Mullins-trained star fought off Bristol De Mai to land the opening race of the day and propel Walsh further clear at the top of the top jockey standings.
A farcical standing start saw Davy Russell unseated on the heavily-backed Zabana, and there was more drama in the mid-point of the race as Outlander and Garde La Victoire both fell, which left a handful of contenders battling for the victory.
Bristol De Mai and L'Ami Serge shaped with promise throughout the race, and the latter sprinted to the front as they ventured into the closing stages, but Walsh managed to get a sparkling tune out of Black Hercules, who picked up for the jockey's urgings and he stayed on in tremendous fashion.
L'Ami Serge failed to see out his race, and was overtaken by Bristol De Mai in the final part of the race, but it will be a race that will live long in the memory for Walsh, who not only notched up the half-century of Cheltenham Festival, but also another success at this year's extravaganza, which sees him continue to blossom.
13:30 JLT Novices' Chase (Grade 1) (Registered As The Golden Miller Novices' Chase) 1.Black Hercules - W Mullins - R Walsh - 4/1CF 2.Bristol De Mai - N Twiston-Davies - D Jacob - 4/1CF 3.L'Ami Serge - N Henderson - N De Boinville - 8/1 9 Ran