Salubrious: Harry Derham celebrates after Cheltenham winPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Nicholls finally strikes at festival with Salubrious
Report: Cheltenham Festival, Friday
Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle, 2m4½f, 4yo+
CHAMPION TRAINER Paul Nicholls finally got off the mark for the 2013 Cheltenham Festival in the penultimate race when Salubrious capitalised on an excellent ride from Harry Derham.
The market had suggested it would be David Pipe who would be breaking his duck in this race as his runner Gevrey Chambertin was smashed into 5-2 but that one was among the first beaten.
In the end it was the 16-1 chance Salubrious who cruised into the lead and scooted up the stands rail to come home seven lengths clear of Nagpur, who was doing his best racing late on. Longtime leader Double Ross finished third with Make Your Mark back in fourth.
Nicholls paid tribute to Dominic Baker, the son of his head groom Clifford, who died in a traffic accident two weeks ago on an emotional day at the festival.
Although relieved to finally get off the mark, he was keen to put things into perspective.
He said: "It has been a nightmare this week one way or another but I'd like to dedicate that to Dominic Baker, Clifford's son.
"Harry has given him a peach. I told him to drop it out last and come as wide as you can and he has done it really, really well."
This was a first win at the festival for Derham, the trainer's nephew, and he said: "It has been a tough week. It is so competitive here at the festival.
"We talked about the race before and thought we'd take our time with him and ride him to run through horses and it suited him well."