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14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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Fishers shows fighting spiritHeadlines
At Fishers Cross and Tony McCoy on the way to victory

At Fishers Cross took a giant step up in class in his stride to land the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham under a power-packed finish from Tony McCoy.

In what looked a strong renewal, Coneygree set out to make all and had At Fishers Cross (13-2) and The New One for company approaching the business end.

Coneygree was the first to crack as the others queued up, and it was The New One who led over the last. However, McCoy was in no mood to surrender on the Rebecca Curtis-trained winner, who responded to every call in taking the Grade Two event by a neck from the 4-5 favourite.

The winner was moving out of handicap company, and McCoy said: "He's a real tough horse. I tried to get the rail, but Sam (Twiston-Davies on The New One) got away from me.

"He's got great heart. I knew the ground and conditions would suit him and Rebecca has done a great job with him.

"He may or may not have been the best horse in the race, but the way conditions were today what he had was great heart, a will to win and to stay. I knew that was something in his favour. He never knows when he's had enough."

Curtis added: "He stays very well up the hill and I think he will be better over three miles, hopefully he will go for the Albert Bartlett now. He seems to be progressive and the ground helped him."

Nigel Twiston-Davies said of The New One: "The winner is a stayer and our horse isn't - he's more of a speed horse.

"We will go for the Neptune, and the Festival is going to be run on very different ground to this."

McCoy followed up on the Jonjo O'Neill-trained Mr Watson (11-4 favourite) in the Steel Plate And Sections Handicap Hurdle.

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