Mags Mullins saddled her first Festival winner when Martello Tower came out top in a gruelling battle for the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham.
In another race dominated by Irish raiders, Martello Tower (14-1) ground out victory for owner Barry Connell and his retained jockey Adrian Heskin.
Martello Tower took the lead from long-time leader Milsean, ridden by the winning trainer’s son, Danny, who used to be Connell’s number one.
There was just half a length between them at the line, with No More Heroes a length away in third.
Heskin said: “He’s a real tough horse, all he does is find off the bridle.
“He pricked his ears about five times after the last, I kept on asking him and he delivered.
“On the ground I was afraid he’d done too much early. He’s a fair horse.
“I was up the tails of the leaders all the way so I didn’t get the kickback.”
The winning trainer said: “To win is just great. I was hoping he would win, but it doesn’t always work out that way.
“I’ve had one runner in this race before and he was third and I’ve had a winner at the November meeting here. It’s brilliant.”