Cole Harden was a sensational winner of the Ladbrokes World Hurdle as under a front-running ride from Gavin Sheehan the 14/1 shot powered up the Cheltenham hill to fend off the Paul Nicholls-trained duo of Saphir Du Rheu and Zarkandar in what was a shock victory for the Warren Greatrex-trained six-year-old.
Adopting his usual front-running tactics on the Westerner gelding in the World Hurdle, Sheehan was always travelling sweetly on the rather unfancied contender and whilst the field packed up in behind him, he managed to find an extra gear to maintain his lead and etch his name alongsides some of the elite of the staying hurdling division.
Saphir Du Rheu was always prominent in behind the winner and further back was Zarkandar, but a mistake at a crucial part of the race saw his chances diminish and he was staying on in the closing stages to eventually grab third place.
Approaching the last flight of hurdles with many failing to get close to Cole Harden, it was Saphir Du Rheu who was his nearest pursuer, but he was unable to pick up the eventual winner and was no closer than three-and-a-quarter lengths at the finish.
Zarkandar fans would've certainly rued his mistake in the latter part of the contest, but Cole Harden was a glorious winner of what was a wide open renewal and he propelled the flourishing partnership of Messrs Greatrex and Sheehan into the limelight in this Cheltenham Festival corker