Tom George's Summerville Boy was a battling winner of the Supreme Novices' Hurdle on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival, as the Tolworth Hurdle winner reeled in Kalashnikov in a scintillating finish to the curtain-raiser of this year's National Hunt extravaganza.
Ruby Walsh elected to send hot favourite Getabird to the front from the flag fall, but the Willie Mullins-trained raider struggled to maintain a fierce gallop, and along with the prominent First Flow that pair weakened as they turned into the straight.
Kalashnikov, who was under pressure from a long way out, stormed to the front as they approached the second last flight, and he was being stalked by Mengli Khan, who was shaping with real promise, but in behind that pair Summerville Boy was storming into contention, and he was ready to throw his hat into the ring.
A dreadful mistake at the penultimate flight made Summerville Boy's task even more difficult as Noel Fehily was made to cling on, and Kalashnikov had been sent for home by Quinlan, as he aimed to follow up his Betfair Hurdle win, but having jumped the last in front, Summerville Boy began to reel in the Amy Murphy-trained raider, and Fehily managed to get more out of his 9/1 chance, and he went on to win by a neck, with Kalashnikov in second, and Mengli Khan in third.
1:30 Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1) Cl1 (4yo+) 2m½f
1.Summerville Boy - T George - N Fehily - 9/1
2.Kalashnikov - A Murphy - J Quinlan - 5/1
3.Mengli Khan - G Elliott - J Kennedy -14/1