By Andrew Atkinson

Sir Gerhard landed the Grade One Ballymore Novices Hurdle on day two of the Cheltenham Festival on Wednesday – with tipping the winner and second, Three Stripe Life.

Willie Mullins trained seven-year-old Sir Gerhard, ridden by Paul Townend, saw money lumped on, with bets of £20,000 and £10,000 placed at 4-5 on the winner, who returned 8-11 favourite.

Sir Gerhard gained a 3 1/2 lengths win ahead of Gordon Elliott trained Three Stripe Life (8-1) from 9-1, ridden by Davy Russell on a wet day, with the going soft after heavy rain.

“I think he showed his class – his true belief and stayed on. He jumped brilliantly and it was a relief to get a winner on the board,” said Townend.

Sir Gerhard was mid-division, racing keenly, going well two out to lead at the final bend, staying on well.

Mullins, chalking up his 80th Cheltenham career win, said: “It was a nice way to get my 80th winner.

“Paul said he just grabbed the bit and was keen with him. Next year it’s possible to look at the Champion Hurdle – one of the options at this stage. It’s a nice problem to have,” added Mullins.