Same Diffrence (red) just gets the better of Super Duty in the Kim MuirPICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
Same Difference digs deep to deny Duty
Report: Cheltenham Festival, Thursday
Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Chase (amateur riders) 3m1½f, New Course, 5yo+
SAME DIFFERENCE gave trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies a second festival winner of the week with a thrilling success, getting the better of a pulsating tussle with gallant Super Duty up the hill.
Ryan Hatch drove the seven-year-old, who was visored for the first time, out to deny the runner-up in a photo-finish, with Romanesco a fine third.
Super Duty, the 11-2 favourite, ably assisted by Derek O'Connor, had set out to make all the running, and looked likely to do so when
kicked a length clear off the final bend.
However, Same Difference, a 16-1 shot, was produced by Hatch with a strong challenge, and there was little between the pair at the final fence.
A thrilling duel ensued, before Twiston-Davies's gelding got the verdict by a head.
Romanesco, who had been hampered early on by the fall of Galaxy Rock, came from well off the pace under Nina Carberry and momentarily threatened to swamp the front two, but couldn't bridge the gap in the closing stages.
Alfie Sherrin fared best of the J P McManus runners, staying on to finish fourth.
The talented Hatch, partnering his first festival winner, was understandably elated afterwards. "It's brilliant," he said. "You just dream about it. I can't really put into words what it means. It's unreal."
Asked if he thought he had won, Hatch replied: "I didn't dare think I had until I heard his number called."
Twiston-Davies was delighted with Hatch's performance. "It was a great ride by Ryan on a first-season novice against handicappers," he said. "Ryan is almost a member of the family. He grew up with my boys, and couldn't work any harder.
"He had to be a good jockey out there, and he was. Same Difference was very brave."
JT McNamara left the course in an ambulance following his fall from Galaxy Rock.
There was a sting in the tail for Hatch, who was adjudged to have used his whip above the permitted level on the winner.
As a result, the stewards suspended him for nine days on dates to be notified to him by the British Horseracing Authority. He was also fined £400.