Dodging Bullets, trained by Paul Nicholls and ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies, won the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival today.
Winner of the Tingle Creek at Sandown and the Clarence House Chase at Ascot already this season, the seven-year-old was third in the betting at 9-2 for the two-mile championship behind former winners Sprinter Sacre and Sire De Grugy.
Dodging Bullets travelled with zest throughout in the hands of Sam Twiston-Davies and loomed up ominously running down the hill.
The front-running Special Tiara and big outsider Somersby made him work for it, but the Nicholls runner – who was bred by Frankie Dettori – found plenty after the final fence to clinch victory.
Somersby ran a tremendous race to fill the runner-up spot, beaten a length and a quarter.
Defending champion Sire De Grugy was under the pump a long way from home, while Sprinter Sacre, so brilliant in this race two years ago, did not jump well and appeared a shadow of his former self after stopping quickly from the home turn and being pulled up.
Twiston-Davies said: “What a horse, Harry Derham and the team have done a great job – Harry rides him all the time wouldn’t let Frankie Dettori ride him at home when he came down the other day, which says a lot.
“I need to get my breath back, I’m shaking a bit!
“I missed two out a bit, I was almost going too well.”
Nicholls said: “That was absolutely awesome.
“It’s good for the owners and good for the team.
“The progress he’s made has been absolutely phenomonal.
“He’s got better and better.”