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14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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Olofi goes one betterHeadlines
Olofi (near side) jumps the last with Bothy

Olofi, trained by Tom George and ridden by Paddy Brennan, won the Racing Post Hurdle at Cheltenham.

The 8-1 shot was gaining handsome redemption after finishing second 12 months ago. Despite having his path blocked by the game Bothy down the inside rail, Brennan's partner responded manfully for pressure after the last flight to defeat Cash And Go by two and a half lengths. Cause Of Causes finished third, with Bothy fourth.

George said: "He had no luck last year, but it's all come right for him today. He's a very, very talented horse and could still be improving."

The handler continued: "He was only beaten four lengths by Zarkandar last year (Betfair Hurdle, Newbury) and everything that could have gone wrong, did go wrong. It's credit to my staff for getting him back to win a race like this.

"Last year you could have run him in the Champion Hurdle and he'd go with anything until the second-last. It's a long shout to go for the Champion, but he's obviously improving and you'd hope he'd go on again."

Brennan said: "He's got me so many rollickings this horse, giving him too much to do, but by doing that, that's how we've had the finished article today. It was just a case of trying to keep him under control and out of the race. The brilliance was always there. It was just getting him to use it.

"I thought I might be on the floor at one stage, but I was lucky enough to have a horse who was willing and tough enough to get me out of the situation. It was a great race to win. It means an awful lot winning prizes like this.

"You don't get much higher than today - it's a very special race to win. He'll have to improve to make it to the very top, but you never know."

Successful owner Max McNeill said: "After Walkon (Paddy Power Gold Cup runner-up) on Saturday, it's been a great weekend. I thought Walkon ran a mighty race against a very good horse.

"This horse was backed for Newbury and then for the County Hurdle, but he's had a lot of bad luck. All credit goes to Tom."

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