Trainer Jonjo O’Neil admitted he did not give Holywell much hope of Cheltenham success ahead of his victory in the Baylis and Harding Handicap chase.
The 10-1 shot held off Ma Filleue, The Package and Green Flag to give O’Neill his 23rd win at at the Festival.
Yet O’Neill admitted he did not think his horse had a chance after struggling to regain confidence after suffering a fall at Carlisle.
After seeing his victory,O’Neill said: “He is a great horse to come back and do that. He slipped on a fence in Carlisle and lost his confidence and took him a while to get going again.
“He won at Catterick shortly after that but was disappointing. And I honestly thought the fences would be too big for him at Cheltenham.
“I saw him miss one fence there but he jumped the rest right. It is now magic to get a first win on the first day at Cheltenham.”
Winning jockey Richie McLernin paid tribute to the horse saying: “He has a home for life with me!
“He is a brilliant horse, he jumps honestly. I put him in the position and after that he was dynamite.
“This is what it’s all about. We work hard all year and to get a result here is absolutely brilliant. You may as well make the most of it as it does not happen too often.”
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